Chef's Kitchen: Grandma's Saturday Morning Chicken & Biscuits

Each month, we’ll go inside the kitchen and bring you one of Chef Ken Dempsey’s personal recipes!
Buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken is a cold winter day’s best friend, and nobody made better biscuits than my Grandma Faye. One of the best things I learned from her is that you never need more than a few bucks, love for great scratch food, and a little patience to feed a family. We actually lived in the same trailer park when I was a young boy and I would routinely walked over on Saturday mornings to her place.
“Do you want some breakfast? Let Grandma make you biscuits and gravy, and I’ll fry up a little bacon.”
Foolishly, I would say, “No Grandma, I want toast and mustard.”
It took a few years for me to give in to the offers of biscuits, but when I did, I was hooked.
It was amazing to me the same hands that spent long hours in factories to support her family were the ones that made the most perfectly soft, buttery biscuits I’ve ever eaten. Those biscuits were made with love, and you could tell it by the way they tasted, smelled, and felt. They were perfectly soft and fluffy on the inside with a slight crispiness on the exterior. You could taste the creamy, fresh butter and subtle tartness from the buttermilk in every single bite.
As an adult, I’ve been chasing her biscuits, trying my best to perfect Grandma’s Saturday morning recipe. The only thing missing is her hands, but the same love she shared with me is there. I just added some buttermilk fried chicken thighs!
Almost My Grandma’s Buttermilk Biscuits
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for making a mess
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons salted butter, ten minute freezer cold
2 cup Bulgarian buttermilk
8 tablespoons melted butter for biscuit topping
1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
2. Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl and mix with your hand.
3. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour mix with a fork until it resembles course meal. (The reason you mix this with a fork is to insure the butter stays cold and solid.)
4. Add the buttermilk and quickly mix with hands until barely combined.
5. If it appears to be dry add a little more buttermilk (dough should be a little wet).
6. Place the dough onto an already floured countertop. You may need to re-flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter.
7. Gently roll the dough with a rolling pin until ½ inch thick, then fold over in half. Your biscuit dough should now be about 1 inch thick.
8. Form your dough sheet so it resembles a square like shape.
9. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 8 large squares. Place biscuit dough squares into lightly greased baking pan.
10. Bake for about 13-18 minutes- the biscuits will be an awesome golden brown with a lightly crispy exterior and a tender and fluffy inside.
11. Slowly pour melted butter over biscuits
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Thighs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons coarse black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups Bulgarian buttermilk
4-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed
Vegetable oil for frying
1. Combine chicken and buttermilk in a sealable bowl and set in refrigerator for at least two hours.
2. Heat the oil to 350 degrees in large pot for frying.
3. Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
4. Press the buttermilk marinated chicken thighs into the flour mix on both sides of the chicken.
5. Re-dunk the floured chicken thigh into the buttermilk and press back into the flour mix one more time. Repeat this for all the chicken thighs.
6. Carefully place floured chicken thighs into hot oil and cook until breading is golden brown. The outside should be very crispy and inside completely done with an internal temp of 165 degrees.

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