Buttermilk Oven (Fried) Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Cava!

On Sunday night, as I agonized over my impending Monday morning performance review (my first), I plotted the perfect meal to eat my feelings after work. Nothing says comfort food like oven-fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Good thing I love to plan ahead because  the key to a great piece of fried chicken is soaking those bad boys in a spicy buttermilk concoction for at least 12 hours.

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Shopping List
  • Quart of buttermilk
  • 7 medium garlic cloves
  • Hot sauce, such as sriracha
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Thyme
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • Corn flakes cereal
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 and 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 2 lbs. of red potatoes
  • Pint of whole milk
  • Brut cava or champagne
Buttermilk Marinade
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce, such as sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of thyme
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

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Combine the buttermilk, garlic, hot sauce, measured salt and pepper, paprika, and cayenne in a large bowl and whisk. Rinse off your chicken breasts and pat the chicken dry with paper towels and transfer it to a large Ziploc bag. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, simply turn the contents of the bag to mix up the marinade.

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Per usual, I worked myself up over nothing and my assessment went just fine. I couldn’t wait to go home and start cooking my (fried) chicken.

Most oven-fried chicken recipes call for corn flakes but a few even use panko bread crumbs. I had about half a container of panko left in the pantry so I decided to mix the two.

Crush your corn flakes into crumbs. I placed mine into a Ziploc bag and started crunching with my hands (weirdly therapeutic). Add a cup of panko, a teaspoon of kosher salt,  a tablespoon of  pepper, and shake to mix.

Before coating the chicken, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, and prepare your baking sheet by covering generously with olive oil spray. Now you are ready to give your chicken that crispy crunch. Pour your breading mix into a shallow glass baking dish and use the tried and true wet hand-dry hand method to cover your chicken.

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The wet hand-dry hand technique is the best way to give food a breadcrumb coating without breading both hands. You use one hand for wet ingredient, such as fishing the chicken out of the buttermilk and one hand for dry. Using your dominant hand for wet ingredients makes this easier (I’ll use my right).

Grab the food to be breaded with your right hand (wet hand). Dip the food into the breadcrumbs. With your left hand, pile up the breadcrumbs, and pat them onto the food, coating well. Use your left hand (dry hand) to lift out the coated food and place it on the baking sheet.

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Before popping these in the oven, drizzle about half a cup of melted butter evenly over the meat. This definitely isn’t a mandatory step but I find it adds another level of richness to the meat.

Now on to the mashed potatoes. I think the last time I ate mashed potatoes was  last Thanksgiving (as I have an addictive personality, these cannot be a part of my daily routine) but what a simple way to treat yo’ self (my inspiration ). Try not to go overboard with your butter and use whole milk instead of cream to keep this recipe from tipping into the fat danger zone.

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 Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup whole milk plus more as needed
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more to season
  • Freshly ground black pepper to season

Personally, I love the texture of skin on red mashed potatoes but this recipe will work for any potato that floats your boat. Scrub and rise off your potatoes and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and a tablespoon of minced garlic to amp up the flavor. Cook until tender but still firm, about 10 minutes.

Drain, place in a large bowl to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the garlic buttery goodness that really makes these bad boys awesome. In a frying pan, add a stick of butter and turn the heat to medium. As soon as your butter starts to melt, add about 1 tablespoon of your chopped garlic. As your butter starts to sizzle, turn the heat down to low. You want the garlic flavor to mold with the butter, but you don’t want either to burn.

As your garlic simmers, begin to mash your potatoes. Add about ½ a cup of whole milk and start to mash those bad boys. Once your potatoes take on a creamy texture, add the butter and garlic. Continue to mix until your reach your desired texture and add salt and pepper to season.

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Around the time you finish your potatoes, check your chicken! After about 35  minutes, your chicken should be GBD (golden, brown, and delicious).

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My districtvines wine recommendation for this meal? CAVA. Might sound like a strange partner for fried chicken but this is a match made in heaven and who doesn’t like an excuse to pop bottles on a Monday?! The bubbles pair perfectly with the crunchy batter (and class up your meal a bit).

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And there you have it, my cure to the Monday’s.

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