A Mother’s Day meal: Say thank you with this decadent chicken dish

Buttermilk chicken is pure comfort food – ideal for a relaxed family dinner

Buttermilk fried chicken with honey mustard slaw

Buttermilk fried chicken with honey mustard slaw

 

With Mother’s Day today in mind, I’m sharing this delicious recipe for buttermilk fried chicken. It’s a decadent dish that I wouldn’t cook every day, but it’s ideal for a relaxed family dinner that’s very easy to rustle up.

Most cultures have their own version of fried chicken, from the tempura-coated Japanese recipe to Senegal’s peanut flour-coated chicken, and spicy Korean fried chicken. But the one that is enjoyed worldwide is the buttermilk fried chicken that comes from the American South. It’s a fusion recipe with Scottish and African influences.

The chicken is made tender and juicy by marinating it in an acid. I’ve used the traditional buttermilk, but a mixture of milk and yogurt will work just as well. Slice up the chicken the day before you want to cook it and leave it to soak in the buttermilk overnight.

I usually use chicken breast for this as I fry it in a pan. You can use drumsticks if you are cooking them in a deep fat fryer. I’ve found that dipping the marinated meat in a mixture of plain flour and cornflour gives it a lighter, crispier texture. 

To offset this piping-hot delicious crunchiness, we need something clean and sharp. So I’m serving this chicken with a coleslaw of red cabbage and carrot. I’m ditching the usual heavy mayonnaise for a bright, zippy, cider-based dressing that has just the right piquancy from wholegrain mustard with a smooth, sweet honey to balance.

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Buttermilk chicken is pure American comfort food. Traditionally it is served with buttermilk biscuits, almost like scones, on the side. It can also be served with cornbread or waffles drenched in maple syrup. It’s usually a beige affair with a big spoonful of macaroni and cheese to weigh the plate down. I usually sandwich the fried chicken in a soft brioche bun or pitta bread, or it can be served with a baked potato. 

BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN WITH HONEY MUSTARD SLAW

Serves four

500ml buttermilk (or 400ml milk and 4tbs natural yogurt)
450g chicken breasts, about three
150g plain flour
50g cornflour
1tsp smoked sweet paprika
1tsp salt
½tsp black pepper

For the slaw
¼ head red cabbage
3 carrots 
1tsp honey
1tsp wholegrain mustard
2tbs olive oil
3tbs cider vinegar
Pinch sea salt
Sunflower oil, for frying

Method
1. The day before you want to eat it, cut the chicken into large pieces. Place them in a dish and pour the buttermilk over them, ensuring that each piece of chicken is submerged. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. 

2. Make the slaw by peeling and cutting the carrots into thin matchsticks, or roughly grate them. Slice the red cabbage as thinly as possible. Mix the honey, mustard, olive oil, vinegar and salt together until smooth in a medium-sized bowl. Add the carrot and cabbage and mix well to combine. Set aside for the vegetables to soak up the dressing. 

3. Mix the flour, cornflour, salt, pepper and paprika together in a wide bowl. 

4. Heat about an inch depth of sunflower oil in a wide, high-sided frying pan. Test how hot the oil is by adding a cube of bread – if it sizzles right away, the oil is ready.

5. Dip each piece of buttermilk-coated chicken into the seasoned flour then into the hot oil. Cook for a few minutes each side until the coating becomes a dark golden colour and the chicken is cooked through. Serve while still piping hot with the slaw.

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