Some foods are simply made for each other. Peanut butter and jelly. Bread and butter. Strawberries and chocolate. Ham and cheese.
Our favorite go-to food-duo these days, though, is fried chicken and biscuits. Why? Because with this batter-less fried chicken recipe and crazy-easy biscuit technique, we can have our favorite dinner on the table in no time.
Forget those tubs of chicken, those hard, plastic-y biscuits. This is homemade Southern goodness, fit for a weeknight.
6 chicken leg quarters (leg and thigh separated)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1.5 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1-2 quart buttermilk
4 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce
6 cups all-purpose flour
peanut or canola oil for frying
1. In a medium bowl, mix all of the dry spices. Add chicken and toss until well coated. Let the mixture stand at room temp (if cooking within 4 hours) or refrigerated in a large bowl for one hour.
2. Pour enough buttermilk over the chicken to cover completely and stir in the hot sauce. Leave on the countertop for one to three hours, or refrigerate up to 24 hr. Pour chicken legs into colander and allow excess buttermilk to drain.
3. In a large bowl, mix the flour with salt and pepper to season well. One-by-one add the chicken pieces, making sure they are thoroughly coated with flour on all sides. Leave them in the bowl with the excess flour while you wait on the oil.
4. Fill a very large pot 4-6 inches deep with oil and heat to 325 degrees. Grab each piece of chicken and slap it back and forth between your hands a few times to knock off the excess flour before slipping it into the oil. As the legs go into the oil, the temperature will drop. Turn the flame to high to increase the temperature to 350 as the chicken cooks. Cook 12-18 minutes until golden brown and at least 160 degrees at the bone, Remove to a rack to drain and season immediately with salt. Cool a few minutes and serve.
Makes 12 to 14 medium biscuits
Butter for greasing, or nonstick cooking spray
2 cups (9 oz/255 g) spooned and leveled self-rising flour (preferably low-protein Southern U.S. flour like White Lily)
1/4 cup sugar (or less, if you prefer your biscuits less sweet)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk, or enough for dough to resemble cottage cheese (if you are not using low-protein flour, it will take more than 1 cup)
1 cup plain all-purpose flour, for shaping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and arrange a shelf slightly below the center of the oven. Butter an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the self-rising flour, sugar, and salt. Work the shortening in with your fingers until there are no large lumps. Gently stir in the cream, then some of the buttermilk until dough resembles wet cottage cheese. It should be a wet mess -- not soup, but cottage-cheese texture. If you are not using a low-protein flour, this may take considerably more than 1 cup of buttermilk.
3. Spread the plain all-purpose flour (not self-rising) out on a plate or pie pan. With a medium (about 2 inches, #30) ice cream scoop or spoon, place three or four scoops of dough well apart in the flour. Sprinkle flour over each. Flour your hands. Turn a dough ball in the flour to coat, pick it up, and gently shape it into a round, shaking off the excess flour as you work. Place this biscuit in the prepared pan. Coat each dough ball in the same way and place each shaped biscuit scrunched up against its neighbor so that the biscuits rise up and don't spread out. Continue scooping and shaping until all dough is used.
4. Place the pan on the arranged shelf in the oven. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Brush with the melted butter. Invert onto one plate, then back onto another. With a knife or spatula, cut quickly between biscuits to make them easy to remove. Serve immediately. "Butter 'em while they're hot."