Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken + Quick Gravy

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Frying chicken, or anything, is kind of a big deal around our house, mostly because it's a little messy and we don't eat a lot of deep fried foods.  But sometimes I have a hard time saying no to the idea of fried chicken.  Of course steamed corn, mashed potatoes and gravy are part of the package, too.  (I stopped myself at biscuits.)

The buttermilk soak adds moisture and tangy flavor to the chicken.  Adding the hot sauce to the buttermilk and cayenne powder makes it spicy.  If you're not into spice, omit these two ingredients.  Also, I dislike meat on the bone, so I used 1 1/2 lbs white skinless, boneless chicken breast but traditionally, one would use a whole 3 lb chicken cut into 8 pieces.  Ingredients will need to be increased by 50%.  

Since we are frying and have no drippings to make a proper gravy, stock, butter and flour can be used to make a quick, basic gravy.   

Serves 4, or 2 with leftovers

Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

1 1/5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thirds

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 cup self rising flour

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon chile powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1-2 liters frying oil (canola, veggie...)  amount depends on pot size

 

Quick Gravy

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup chicken stock

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For the Chicken:

Place chicken in a bowl with buttermilk and hot sauce.  Cover and place in fridge for 6 to 12 hours.  Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside for later.  

When you're ready to fry, place a large cast iron skillet on the stove and fill with about 2 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees. Remove chicken from fridge and buttermilk soak.  Working in batches if needed, toss chicken pieces in prepared flour seasoning mixture, until coated and carefully place in skillet.   Fry 6 minutes, flip and fry 4 minutes more.  (Dark meat will take a couple minutes longer.)   Transfer to towel to drain and serve hot.  

For the Gravy: 

While your last pieces of chicken are frying, melt butter in small pan over medium high heat and add flour.  Stir continuously until mixture becomes golden.  Add stock, stir until thickened.  

Chicken + Cheddar Chive Dumplings

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Everyone seems to be coming down with a cold so here's a little comfort food in the form of chicken and dumplings.  It's really just a simple chicken stew with dumplings cooked in.  (I used boneless, skinless chicken breast but chicken thigh meat would be good too. Also, the chicken does not need to be cooked first, I just dislike boiled chicken and find that the chicken has better texture when cooked on its own in a pan and then added to soups.  But feel free to just add your raw chicken when the recipe says so.)  No peeking at the dumplings with they're cooking.  

Chicken + Cheddar Chive Dumplings

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

3 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

few springs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 onion, peeled and chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 celery root, peeled and chopped

8oz mushrooms, quartered

1/2 cup peas (frozen ones are ok)

32 oz chicken stock

1/3 cup all purpose flour (for rue)

1 cup cake flour (for dumplings)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper

1 oz cheddar cheese, grated

1 1/2 tablespoon fresh chives, minced

1/2 cup milk, (more if needed)

In a pan, cook chicken and set aside. While chicken is cooking, get the dumplings ready.  In a bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder, salt, cheddar and chives.  Stir in milk.  Set aside.  

In a large pot,on medium heat,  melt butter and add carrots, celery root, garlic, thyme sprigs and bay.  Cook 5 minutes, until onion is glossy and carrots are soft.  Add flour and stir to coat.  About 1 minute.  Turn heat to high and add stock, chicken, mushrooms and peas.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.  Drop dumpling batter in by the spoonful.  There will be about 6 dumplings.  They will expand a lot when cooking so space them out as much as you can.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes. (No peeking at the dumplings while they're cooking, opening the lid of the pot lets steam escape and your dumplings need that steam to cook.)   Test dumplings for doneness with a toothpick, if not done, cover and simmer 5 minutes more.  

Serve hot!