We usually stay in on Valentine’s, but this year we had an even more legitimate reason to do so…House of Cards. Was Netflix doing the world a favor by letting us all spend February 14th binging on new episodes? I like to think so.
And, a few days before, I’d found the recipe for Pies-N-Thighs’ Chicken Biscuits, one of Jesse’s all time favorite foods. (Pies-N-Thighs, for those who don’t know, is a restaurant in Williamsburg that serves an array of amazing fried-chicken-and-biscuit combinations…and pie, of course).
It’s like the stars had aligned to make our Valentine’s day as blissfully decadent as possible. And what better way to show my love than by giving my husband a
coronary delicious dinner.
As a very appreciative Jesse put it, “this recipe gets to your heart in more ways than one.”
This comes from Bon Appetit’s “R.S.V.P.” section, in which restaurants cough up the secrets to their famous recipes. I love it, but usually the recipes seem way too complex to try at home (apparently professional chefs don’t mind spending lots of time cooking – who would have thought?!?) This one, however, was surprisingly straightforward. If you’ve ever pan-fried chicken, you can make it without a problem.
I’d never made real biscuits before, but the technique is very easy. One interesting fact I learned is that you want to leave little pea-sized bits of butter in the dough. The butter lets off steam as it bakes, and that’s what creates the air pockets that make the biscuits light and flaky.
Oh, and did I mention that you serve it with a side of honey butter?
Pies-N-Thighs Chicken Biscuits
Remember to leave time for the chicken to marinate – at least 3 hours.
A note on hot sauce: I am not a hot sauce person. I can barely handle medium salsa. But I have to say that the hot sauce really added to this, and didn’t make it too spicy. So don’t skip it.
For the chicken:
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken cutlets, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness (about 1 1/2 lbs total).
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon Frank’s Original Hot Sauce, plus more for serving (according to Jesse this is the hot sauce for an authentic Pies-N-Thighs experience).
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I didn’t have any so I substituted with chile powder and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- vegetable oil, for frying (about 2 1/2 cups)
For the biscuits (makes 8-10, you can freeze extras for later):
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
- 1 1/2 cups chilled buttermilk
- 1 egg, beaten (to brush on top before baking)
For honey butter, mix together the following (I made half this amount and it was plenty):
- 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup honey
1. Combine the 1 C. buttermilk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a ziploc bag. Add the chicken cutlets, seal the bag, and turn it so that the chicken is coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for 3-8 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. About an hour before you want to eat, start preparing the biscuits.
3. In a food processor, pulse together the baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and flour. Add the chilled butter cubes and use short pulses to cut the butter into the flour mixture, until you have a coarse texture with a few pea-sized pieces of butter left. Don’t overdo it! (BA says you can also use two knives or a pastry cutter if you don’t have a food processor).
4. Transfer dough to a large bowl. Gradually add the 1 1/2 cups chilled buttermilk while mixing it in gently with a fork.
5. Gently knead the dough with your hands until it just starts holding together in a shaggy ball. It’s okay to still have some dry spots — the important thing is to not overwork it or you will lose your air pockets. If it really won’t hold together at all, you can add a little more buttermilk.
6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it to a 1 1/4 inch thickness with your palms.
7. Flour the edges of a 3″ round pastry cutter (or in my case, an overturned drinking glass) and use it to cut out the biscuits. Reroll the scraps to make more biscuits, but again don’t overwork it (I got 10 biscuits out of it).
8. Put biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the egg. Bake until golden, 30-35 minutes. Put extra biscuits in the freezer for use at a later date (frozen biscuits will need 45 minutes to bake).
9. While the biscuits are in the oven, move on to the chicken. Pour 2 cups of panko into a shallow bowl. Take chicken out of the ziploc and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then dredge in the panko, making sure the whole piece is well-coated. Shake off the excess, then set aside on a plate.
10. Pour about a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large, heavy duty or cast iron skillet and heat on medium high for several minutes. You can test if your pan is hot enough by throwing in a piece of panko – the oil should bubble and spit. Don’t add the chicken until the oil is hot!
11. Gently place two of the chicken cutlets in the pan and let them fry without touching them until they are deep golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel and set aside until you are ready to eat. Repeat with the other pieces.
12. At this point your biscuits should be almost done. Split the biscuits and spread each side with honey butter. Add the chicken and a generous helping of hot sauce. Mmmmmm.