My husband and I have been married 7 years. We are in the middle of building our house, and felt there could be now better way to celebrate than to have a picnic at the job site. I firmly felt the best picnic food would be fried chicken since it is almost better cold than it is warm. My better half upped the ante, by recommending I make my cream drop biscuits to go alongside. I fired back that we should make fried chicken biscuit sandwiches, and here we are!
My new home is near my parents’ house. My family used to walk by it every weekend when we would take our 4 mile loop. It’s 32 acres of field and scrub and trees; my dad called it Watership Down after a book he read my sister and I when we were very young. I have read that book every year since, and I can still hear my dad narrating it when I do.
As we grow older, things often change. Watership Down seemed like it would become a place of the past, when a “For Sale” sign was posted on the field. It went under contract, to be turned into a busy subdivision, full of pavement and fences. But as luck would have it, that deal fell through (due to some zoning issue or other). Watership went for sale again, but this time, my parents bought it, and now I will live on it.
The book, by Richard Adams, has had a huge impact on my life. I won a local essay competition writing about it. I knew that my husband was the guy for me when he presented me with a copy he hand-bound when I was dating him at seventeen. I collect copies of the book; I like to see the different covers on my bookshelf. Walking past that field has always given me an immense sense of peace. I steal out there on weekends to see the progress on my house and to enjoy the solitude of nature.
If you make this recipe, I urge you to take it with you on a picnic out in the world. Go somewhere peaceful, with someone special, and enjoy.
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick butter, frozen
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a jumbo muffin pan or cast-iron drop biscuit pan, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, add the self rising flour. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour. Toss to coat every piece of butter with the flour until the mixture is coarse crumbs. Pour in the heavy cream and stir until you have a shaggy dough.
Using an ice cream scoop, drop six equal portions of the dough into your jumbo muffin tin, cast iron drop biscuit pan, or 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet. Press the biscuits down slightly.
Bake until golden brown, about 18 minutes.
Cut the biscuits in two. Spread one side with honey mustard and the other with mayonnaise. Add pieces of fried chicken and a few slices of bread and butter pickles. Put the top biscuit half on, and chow down!
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotles in adobo
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup of buttermilk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 pounds of bone in, skin on thighs and drumsticks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3-4 cups of peanut oil
Combine all the ingredients listed under wet brine in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add the chicken pieces and allow to marinate for 4 hours or up to overnight, turning the pieces occasionally.
Whisk all the ingredients for the dry mix together. Drizzle in about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the buttermilk marinade into the flour mixture and work it into the flour with your fingers. Take one piece of chicken from the bag, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off, put the chicken into the flour mixture, and toss it around to coat. Continue adding chicken pieces to the flour mixture one at a time until they are all in the bowl. Toss the chicken until every piece is thoroughly coated. Press the flour mixture onto the chicken to ensure a nice, thick coating.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking pan with an ovenproof rack. Heat your oil in a 12 inch cast iron chicken fryer over medium-high heat until a thermometer reads 400 degrees F. You want the oil really hot because the temperature will drop significantly once you add your chicken pieces. You do not want your thermometer to drop below 300 degrees F with the chicken added.
Working in batches, fry the chicken pieces, starting skin side down. Fry the chicken until it’s a deep golden brown on the first side. This will take about 6 minutes. Don’t check the chicken for doneness until it has fried for a few minutes or you risk knocking off some of the yummy coating. Flip the chicken pieces with tongs and cook until the second side is golden brown, about another 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer your fried chicken onto your prepared baking tray with wire rack and place it in the oven. Cook your chicken until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. It will take about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove your cooked chicken onto paper towel plates and allow to rest for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
Cool the chicken down to room temperature, then refrigerate in a container with a tight fitting lid. Enjoy it the next day cold; it will be super crispy for your sandwich!