Make this for your Valentine, even if your valentine is you. If we’re talking about serious expressions of love, then I can’t think of anything more appropriate than a Fried Chicken Pretzel Biscuit. Super crisp, lightly spiced, completely addictive fried chicken cutlets (dark or light meat, your call) layered onto a pretzel biscuit. Yeah – a PRETZEL biscuit. That is, an American, light ‘n fluffy buttermilk biscuit (it’s a savoury scone to Aussies), made with ground up pretzels, so that their salty, bitter, pretzel-y flavour works through the whole deal.
The biscuit is buttery and delicious, and you WILL want to eat five of these with jam. The recipe makes for four big mothers, perfect for filling with chicken, or you could make 6 or even 8 small bb’s just for funsies. Either way, you’re going to want to eat these warm, because that is when a biscuit is at its most perfect. Just like a car begins depreciating in value as soon as you buy it, so a biscuit gets less perfect every minute it sits out of the oven. For a next day biscuit, I suggest a quick spell in the toaster.
The chicken, well this is just my straight up, favourite ever, delicious, amazing, Fried Chicken (capital F, capital C). For this iteration, I used the method for thin-ish slices of chicken breast, and batted out chicken thighs, because we’re making biscuits people. But I use the same method for legs, drumsticks, bone-in, bone-out, whatever whatever. And it is delicious, and it is perfect. The chicken gets a brine/marinade in tenderising buttermilk spiked with plenty of salt, and then it gets tossed in seasoned flour.
The seasoning is what really matters. And this is my special blend, honed over many many fryings. You ready for this? Here it is. LOTS of dried thyme, a little less smoked paprika, a little less than that of white pepper, a tiny spot of ground coriander, and plenty of salt. This makes for the most mouth-watering Colonel Sanders style chicken you can imagine. But wait, there’s more: a smidge, just a tiny pinch of baking powder. It helps the coating crisp up like you wouldn’t imagine and just gives the whole thing more crunch and happiness.
Once your chicken is fried, and your biscuit is baked, you need only mix together a dollop of Dijon mustard and a generous pour of maple syrup, douse the whole thing with this heavenly sauce, and then apply it to your face. You’ve never looked more beautiful.
- 1 cup pretzels, ground to make ½ cup pretzel crumbs (fairly fine, sandy in texture)
- 2 cups (300g) plain flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- pinch of baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 swtick + 5 tbsp (175g) cold butter, cubed
- ¾ cup (185ml) buttermilk
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 2 cups (500ml) buttermilk
- 4 tsp salt
- 3 cups (450g) plain flour
- 2 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp white pepper
- Oil, for frying (I used Rice Bran Oil)
- ½ cup (125ml) maple syrup
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- Serve with pickles, hot sauce, and beer.
- Get started with the chicken - place the thighs into a bowl, and pour over the buttermilk and 2 tsp salt. Stir to combine, and then cover and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a couple hours.
- Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- Place the ground pretzels, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, and add the cubes of cold butter. Working quickly, cut the butter into the flour (with two knives or a pastry cutter) until you have a slightly sandy mixture, still with plenty of big chunks of butter. Alternatively, you can do this in a food processor, pulsing to get the right texture.
- Add the buttermilk all at once to mixture and stir with a wooden spoon, until the mixture looks shaggy, but is coming together. Dump out onto a floured surface, and knead and pat the dough together, just until it coalesces, and then pat out into a square, just over an inch (about 1.5 inch/3cm) thick.
- Cut the dough into four squares, and place onto the baking sheet. Brush with a little extra buttermilk, and press a whole pretzel into the top of each (optional). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until dark golden brown and risen.
- To fry the chicken, fill a cast iron skillet just under half-full with oil, and place over a medium heat. You need to be careful, because the last thing you want is for the oil to overflow - if your skillet is small, maybe choose a dutch oven instead. Either way, you want about an inch (2cm) of oil.
- Stir the flour, herbs, spices and remaining salt together in a shallow dish. When the oil is hot enough that a little of the flour sizzles gently if you sprinkle it in, your're ready to fry. Take a piece of chicken, dredge it thickly in the flour and place into the oil. Repeat with a second piece and cook two at a time. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until deep golden brown and cooked through (you may want to cut one open to check, if you're not sure). Remove the chicken to a rack to drain and set.
- To serve, stir together the maple syrup and mustard. Split a biscuit, and place a piece of fried chicken on the bottom half. Pour over a little maple-mustard sauce, and top with the other biscuit half. Serve with pickles, hot sauce, and beer.