Rebecca Lang is a food writer, cooking instructor, television personality, and a ninth-generation Southerner. In her new cookbook she shares recipes for Southern Fried classics like Buttermilk-Soaked, Bacon-Fried Chicken in Gravy as well as riffs on Japanese Kara-Age and Jerk Drumsticks. Her book is Fried Chicken: Recipes for the Crispy, Crunchy Comfort Food Classic.
She says this recipe for Honeyed Fried Chicken with Hot Honey Sauce and Biscuits is a favorite with her children.
3 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salt
1⁄3 cup turbinado sugar
2 cups ice
1 chicken (about 4 pounds, 8 ounces), cut into 10 pieces
Vegetable oil, for frying
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1⁄3 cup honey
1 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe follows), for serving
Hot Honey Sauce (recipe follows), for serving
To make the brine, in a saucepan, combine the water, 2 tablespoons of the salt, and the sugar over medium heat, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat, allow the brine to cool, and add the ice. Place the chicken in a large zip-top bag, pour the brine over it, seal the bag, and refrigerate for 6 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine and drain, discarding the brine.
In a deep fryer or large, deep stockpot, heat 3 inches vegetable oil over high heat to 340°F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and honey. In a third large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 cups of flour, cornstarch, and herbes de Provence.
Dredge each chicken piece in the first flour mixture, dip in the half-and-half mixture, and then dredge in the herbed flour mixture. Depending on the size of your fryer, you may need to fry in two batches. Once all of the pieces have been coated, carefully place the larger ones in the hot oil. Fry for 21⁄2 to 3 minutes. Lower the remaining pieces in the hot oil and fry for 14 more minutes, or until golden brown and juices run clear. Maintain a frying temperature of 325°F to 335°F. Drain the chicken on the wire rack.
Serve with honey sauce and buttermilk biscuits.
Makes 16 Biscuits
1 1⁄2 to 2 1⁄2 cups Southern self-rising flour, homemade or store-bought (such as White Lily brand)
1⁄4 cup vegetable shortening
2⁄3 cup buttermilk
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place 1 1⁄2 cups of the flour in a large bowl. Add the shortening and use your fingers to break it up and distribute it into the flour. Add the buttermilk and heavy cream, stirring just until the flour becomes moist.
Sprinkle about 1⁄4 cup of the flour on the counter to cover your work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Flour your hands and knead the dough 4 or 5 times by folding it over and pressing down with the heels of your hands. Add as much of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed to make a smooth dough that is not sticky.
Pat the dough into a 3⁄4-inch-thick disk and cut biscuits out with a 2-inch round cutter, pressing down without twisting the cutter. Combine the dough scraps, pat to 3⁄4 inch thick, and cut into biscuits. Place biscuits, with sides touching, on an ungreased, light metal rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Hot Honey Sauce
Makes About 1⁄4 Cup
1⁄4 cup honey
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1⁄4 teaspoon dried crushed pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.
Reprinted with permission from Fried Chicken, by Rebecca Lang, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.