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A finger-lickin’ good fried feast for dinner

  • PHOTO COURTESY NEW YORK TIMES

This recipe for chicken biscuits could be a weeknight dinner with a side of greens, but it’s made to travel and perfectly suited for a picnic. The biscuit dough is lightly kneaded here, so it’s not too tender to work in a sandwich. The chicken tenders are pounded and coated in panko for plenty of crunch. Prepare both components the day you want to eat them, giving yourself at least one extra hour for everything to cool before you assemble, so the sandwich stays crisp. You can also cook well in advance, and assemble the sandwiches the next day. Either way, cooling the chicken completely on a wire rack is crucial. If you prefer breast meat over thigh, feel free to swap it in.

Fried Chicken Biscuits

Biscuits Ingredients:

• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 3 tablespoons baking powder
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk

Chicken Ingredients:

• 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons cayenne
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
• 3 eggs
• 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
Canola or other neutral oil, for frying

For the Butter:

• 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 3 tablespoons honey
Hot sauce, a vinegary variety such as Crystal, to taste
Dill pickles, sliced, for serving

Directions:

Prepare the biscuits: In a bowl, use a fork to mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add butter and use the fork to mash it into the flour until the mixture resembles large, lumpy crumbs. Stir in milk until a dough comes together.

Flour your hands, then gently gather and knead the dough in the bowl for 2-3 minutes, or until it springs back slightly to the touch. (If the dough is sticky, sprinkle additional flour as needed.) Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and rest dough in fridge for half-hour.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough to 1 to 1 1/2-inch thickness. Use a floured knife or round cutter to cut six biscuits, about 3 1/2 inches wide. Reroll the scraps and cut again as needed.

Place biscuits on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they have puffed up and the tops are slightly golden. Let cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container if not using until the next day.

Prepare the chicken: Trim excess fat and any membranes from the meat, then lightly hammer the thickest parts of the thighs with a rolling pin. Season each side with salt.

Mix flour, cayenne and salt in one wide bowl. Beat eggs in a wide bowl, and place panko in a third. Dip each chicken thigh in flour, coating it all over and patting off the excess; then in egg, allowing extra egg to drip off; then in panko, making sure each thigh is entirely coated in breadcrumbs, and using your hands to press loose crumbs into any places where they look scarce.

In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, pour in oil to a 2-inch depth and heat to 350 degrees. Fry two thighs at a time, flipping them over every 2 minutes or so, until golden brown and crisp all over, about 8 minutes in total.

Transfer to a wire rack set over a paper towel-lined sheet pan and season lightly with salt. Let cool entirely at room temperature, at least 1 hour. You can assemble the sandwiches or transfer the rack to the fridge and leave the chicken uncovered overnight.

Assemble the sandwiches: When both the chicken and biscuits have cooled (or the next day), mix together soft butter, honey and hot sauce until smooth. Cut open cooled biscuits, smear each cut side with honey butter, and sandwich with a piece of chicken.

If traveling, loosely wrap each sandwich in a piece of parchment paper and pack side by side in a hard container, in a single layer, so the sandwiches aren’t crushed. Serve with additional hot sauce and pickles on the side.

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling; serves 6.

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