Category Archives: brunch

Chicken Biscuits Sliders

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So far the common thread of 2015 has been biscuits. I actually think I’ve made more biscuits in 2015 already than I did in all of 2014. I’ve been churning them out, dude. It all started with the biscuit-palooza that was Dan’s birthday weekend with our college friends. A few weeks later for Dan’s birthday party I decided I wanted to make one-bite fried chicken biscuits (self five there). Then this past weekend, for my mom’s going away party (she’ll be spending the next year in South East Asia and the South Pacific) my brother Reid and I made country ham biscuit sliders. I’m on a roll (a biscuit?) and I have no complaints.

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These chicken biscuit sliders were a huge hit, a delicious combination of fried chicken bites, buttery and flakey biscuits, dill pickle slices, and a sweet and spicy jalapeño honey. They’ll be back on the menu before too long.

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Chicken Biscuit Sliders
makes 24 sliders

fried chicken

8 chicken thighs, skin on & boneless

2 cups buttermilk

2 1/2 tbsps red pepper flakes

2 1/2 tbsps cayenne pepper

2 tbsps salt

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 cups flour

1/2 cup stone ground yellow grits

4 eggs

1 tbsp apple cider vingear

Peanut oil for frying

biscuits:

4 1/2 cups flour

2 tsps baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsps salt

2 sticks butter

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 stick melted butter for topping

Honey for biscuits

3 large dill pickles

The night before you’d like to make these sliders cube your chicken into 24 bite size pieces. Combine in a bag with buttermilk, 1 tbsp red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp cayenne, and 1 tbsp salt. Refrigerate overnight.

Set out three bowls for yourself and heat the oil in a skillet or a deep fryer. Oil should be 350-375F. In the first bowl combine 1 cup of flour with the garlic powder. In the second bowl whisk together your eggs with the apple cider vinegar. In the third bowl combine the remaining flour, bread crumbs, grits, and spices. Once your oil is hot take your chicken, two or three pieces at a time, from the buttermilk and shake excess buttermilk off. Dredge in flour mixture, then in eggs, and then in flour and breadcrumb. Make sure the chicken is completely coated in the third mixture and then drop into the oil. Fry for 3-5 minutes, turning as necessary, until golden brown and crisp. Transfer onto a rack to cool. Repeat until all of your chicken is fried.

Heat oven to 400F. Mix together dry ingredients. Cube butter and work in with your hands, breaking the butter up into small pieces and mixing in with the dry ingredients, until the texture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the buttermilk. Transfer to a floured surface and press into a rectangle. Fold on itself and pat into a rectangle. Repeat three or four times, finishing with a large rectangle of dough that is 1″ thick. Use a small biscuit cutter to cut into 1″ rounds or slice with a knife into 1″ squares. Place on a baking sheet and brush the top of each biscuit with melted butter. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. and baked through.

While your biscuits are baking, slice the pickles. Halve biscuits and smear generously with honey. Place a fried chicken bite and a pickle slice on each biscuit and serve hot.

12/100: Fried Livermush

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Years ago when I was very homesick and living in Maryland I bought two books- Adam Lucas’  The Best Game Ever and Bob Garner’s Guide to North Carolina BarbecueReading about the historic 1957 UNC team that my grandfather was a part of and the foods from home that I missed so dearly made me feel a little better, a little more connected to home. Those books made me feel as though even while I was not living in North Carolina, North Carolina was a part of me, always.

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A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking with Bob Garner, and I was immediately reminded me of that feeling, that desire to connect with my roots. His most recent book, Foods That Make You Say Mmm-mm, takes him across the state, looking into the regional foods and food traditions that are unique to North Carolina. As he puts it, some foods have “stuck” more than others to North Carolina. Yes, you can find traditional Southern foods throughout the state, but there are some foods that you can only find in little pockets of North Carolina, and that’s what he’s exploring.

FoodsThatMakeYouSayMmm

photographs courtesy of Bob Garner

Talking to Bob is like taking a masters level course in North Carolina food culture. As soon as I held the book I knew he would be an incredible resource for Tasting North Carolina, and so I took advantage of our conversation to ask him his input. As expected, he had a lot of amazing suggestions. We talked about the sonker of Surry County, the muddle of Lenoir County, and the liver mush of Cleveland County.

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Cleveland County is located in Western North Carolina and is, among other things, the home of Earl Scruggs. It is also the home of Livermush, a pate-like dish that is comprised of pork liver, head meats, and cornmeal. Despite the rather off-putting name (it’s sometimes called liver pudding), liver mush is a beloved Cleveland County treat, a legacy of the German immigrants who settled in Southwestern North Carolina.

cleveland

Coincidentally, a few days after I spoke with Bob I ran into a friend from Cleveland County. She had remembered that I was working on this project and brought me some of her favorite brand of liver mush- Neese’s- and gave me some instructions for eating it. She said that while most people like it fried and served with eggs and grits she prefers it with a touch of maple syrup. The next morning I fried up a batch and served it with freshly baked buttermilk biscuits and a healthy serving of maple syrup.

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Bob Garner has spent his career doing exactly what I’m hoping to do with this project- connect with people from across the state to learn their stories and celebrate their culture and history. Tasting North Carolina grew out of a desire to reconnect with my home state, and thanks to people like Bob I know more and more about my roots every day.

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Fried Livermush Biscuit

1lb block of livermush or liverpudding

Maple syrup

drop biscuits:

4 cups flour

2 tsps baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsps salt

2 sticks butter

2 1/4 cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 400F.

Mix together dry ingredients. Cube butter and work in with your hands, breaking the butter up into small pieces and mixing in with the dry ingredients, until the texture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the buttermilk.

Use a spoon to drop the dough into a drop biscuit pan or onto a lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Slice liver mush into 1/2″ slices. Fry in a buttered skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side, until browned and crisp. Serve on a sliced hot biscuit with a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

Drop Biscuits

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Last weekend was Dan’s 30th birthday (!!) and when I asked him how he wanted to celebrate he said that he wanted to spend the weekend making and eating great food with great friends.  We invited down some of our closest friends– Brit and Aaron and Kellie and Corey– for the weekend and we did just that. We cooked and baked and sat around the fire and enjoyed each other’s company. It was an incredible way to spend a birthday weekend.

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I asked Dan to come up with the menu for the weekend and his request for Saturday morning breakfast was bacon, egg, and cheese on buttermilk biscuits. I’d been looking for an excuse to add a drop biscuit pan to my cast iron collection, and this was the perfect opportunity.

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Drop biscuits are the kissing cousin of traditional buttermilk biscuits. Meant to be simply “dropped” into a pan or onto a baking sheet they aren’t kneaded and folded and are thus a little more crumbly and free form when baked. My drop biscuit recipe calls for a bit more buttermilk and the result is a moist and flavorful biscuit.

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Those were the first of many biscuits I made that weekend at the request of my house guests. On Sunday morning we served them with my new favorite honey- Bee in Your Bonnet (I’m especially loving the vanilla bean and hibiscus), sausage that Dan and Aaron made and smoked, cheese, peach jam, and salted butter.

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I spent the weekend being incredibly grateful for two things. I cannot believe my fortune that Dan counts the partners of my closest friends as some of his closest friends. It was so wonderful for me to spend the weekend with Brit and Kellie, and it was even more incredible to watch the men in our lives hang out and bond. I’m also very glad that we’ve finally reached the point in our lives where hanging out at home with our friends, eating biscuits and smoking sausage is something everyone unanimously agrees is the best choice. There is no way I would rather spend my time.

drop biscuits 1

Drop Biscuits
makes 7-8 biscuits

4 cups flour

2 tsps baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsps salt

2 sticks butter

2 1/4 cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 400F.

Mix together dry ingredients. Cube butter and work in with your hands, breaking the butter up into small pieces and mixing in with the dry ingredients, until the texture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the buttermilk.

Use a spoon to drop the dough into a drop biscuit pan or onto a lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.