Whenever our little brother, E.J., comes to New Orleans, we can usually find him at Emeril’s, our dad’s restaurant, cozying up to a big ol’ plate of fried chicken and waffles. He never really makes it to the waffles but he can almost eat his own body weight in fried chicken. We came up with this recipe just for him and it seems everyone agrees that this may be the best fried chicken ever! And, yes, it happens to be gluten-free. You can make this recipe two ways: crispy or super crispy by either battering the chicken once or twice. If you go for the double batter, you may need to increase the fry time slightly and try not to chip a tooth! You’ll need to have a candy/deep fry thermometer to ensure your oil is at the peak frying temperature and also a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F and fully cooked. If you have a dairy allergy, use Dairy-Free Buttermilk.
2 cups buttermilk or Dairy-Free Buttermilk
8-10 dashes hot sauce
2 pounds chicken pieces (wings, thighs, breasts)
2⅔ cups superfine white rice flour
1⅓ cups cornstarch
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning of choice
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
-Vegetable oil, for frying
1. In a large re-sealable plastic bag, combine buttermilk and hot sauce. Add chicken pieces and seal the bag firmly. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate at least 3 hours but no more than 24 hours.
2. When chicken is done marinating, carefully transfer buttermilk and chicken mixture into a large mixing bowl. Discard the plastic bag.
3. Prepare the batter. In a large bowl or casserole dish, combine the rice flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper. Mix together until well combined.
4. Set up a cooling rack or baking sheet on which to place your battered chicken. Work piece by piece. Remove a piece of chicken from the buttermilk mixture and let the excess buttermilk drip off slightly before placing the chicken in the dry batter mixture. Thoroughly coat the entire piece with a layer of the dry batter as evenly as possible before laying the breaded chicken piece on either the cooling rack or the baking sheet. Repeat this process until all the chicken has been battered. (If you want the regular one-breaded version, stop here. If you want the super crunchy double-breaded version, repeat the battering process once more so that each chicken piece gets dipped into the buttermilk and dry batter two times. Discard any remaining batter and buttermilk.)
5. Let battered chicken sit at room temperature 20 to 25 minutes while you prepare your frying station. If you’re using a deep fryer, heat the oil and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. If frying on the stove, fill a large, deep frying pan or cast-iron skillet half way with vegetable oil. Using a candy/deep-fry thermometer, heat the oil until it’s between 350 to 375°F. Once the temperature has been reached, carefully drop in a few pieces of battered chicken, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fewer is better. After about 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the cuts of chicken, carefully turn the chicken pieces over and fry the other side another 4 to 5 minutes. Be sure the chicken is cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove a test piece, check the temperature and return the chicken to the pan to continue cooking, if necessary. Don’t test the temperature while the chicken is immersed in the oil. Once fully cooked, remove the pieces with tongs and place on a large, paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet to cool.
6. Repeat until all chicken pieces have been fried. Keep an eye on the thermometer and try not to let the oil temperature dip below 350°F, paying special attention to the temperature right after you remove the finished chicken pieces and are getting ready to add new pieces.
7. Let chicken cool a few minutes before serving. Enjoy warm or cooled.
TIP Feel free to use any cuts of chicken you prefer, keeping in mind your fry time may vary depending on the size and thick-ness of the cuts.
Each 4-ounce serving of light meat with skin contains 310 calories, 17g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 94mg cholesterol, 321mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 26g protein, 6 Est GL.
Each 4-ounce serving of dark meat with skin contains 334 calories, 21g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 100mg cholesterol, 330mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 24g protein, 5 Est GL.
MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
Buttermilk is used quite a lot in Southern cooking in both savory and sweet recipes, from fried chicken to desserts. It’s the base for lots of rich cakes, sweet breads and frostings. We realize that a lot of our fellow celiacs have a sensitivity to dairy so this is a great recipe to keep in your gluten-free cooking arsenal. We recommend using unsweetened rice milk for fried chicken, but feel free to use any dairy-free milk you prefer. Coconut is better for sweeter dishes. Almond and rice are better for savory. This recipe can be halved.
2 cups plain rice milk, unsweetened, or dairy- free milk of choice
2 tablespoons vinegar (white or apple cider) or lemon juice
-Pinch of salt
1. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together rice milk, vinegar or lemon juice and salt.
2. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature. The milk will thicken and separate a bit.
3. Whisk well before using.
Each cup contains 120 calories, 2g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 136mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 1g protein, 7 Est GL.