You may have noticed the trend in fried chicken on my blog. For some reason I always try and find the next bigger better fried chicken. (fun fact I also do this with chocolate chip cookies) This sandwich might be the one though. So much flavor and easy to adjust to your personal heat levels. The harissa spices bring a really nice warmth to the breading without being to spicy or salty. I picked up my harissa seasoning from World Market. I prefer the dry mix because you can add olive oil to the spices to make a paste or leave it dry.
The secret to exceptionally juicy fried chicken is using chicken thighs. I like to soak them in buttermilk before dipping them into the egg batter. They are almost melt in your mouth tender with a perfect crunchy crust. The real star of the show is the honey harissa mayo spread. It brings a really nice sweet heat that pairs well with some tangy dill pickles.
Fried chicken sandwiches with a harissa crust and sweet harissa mayo.
4 chicken thighs
1 cup of milk or buttermilk
½ cup of AP flour
1 cup of panko crumbs
2 tbsp of harissa spice
1 tsp of garlic powder
salt and pepper
½ cup of mayo
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of harissa spice
oil for frying
soak the chicken thighs in the milk while preparing the oil
In a deep frying pan heat oil to 350 degrees. (I used canola oil)
Prepare two bowls- one with the eggs beaten and the second with the flour, panko, garlic and harissa
Dip the chicken into the egg then into the flour mix
Season with salt and pepper
Fry in the oil until up to temperature. I usually cook to 160 degrees then let rest until 165
While the chicken is resting mix the mayo, remaining harissa spice and honey.
Toast the buns lightly and spread with the mayo.
Add the pickles and chicken then top with lettuce and tomato.
You can definitely add more or less of the harissa before frying. I usually love my food extra spicy, but these are just perfect with a tiny pinch of heat. Don’t forget the potato buns! They are so soft and just soak up all the juices from the chicken.
I personally have never been to Nashville. It is definitely one of those trips on my bucket list. I always see the most amazing creations on instagram and other forms of social media. They typically stem from Nashville. This recipe is my version of hot fried chicken. Juicy bonless chicken thighs with a very thin salty crust made of panko crumbs and cornstarch. They are then tossed lightly in this amazing peppery hot sauce. I am pretending these are healthy since I removed the fat and skin…
I know what you are thinking. How many times do we eat fried chicken a week since I have at least 5 different fried chicken recipes. I promise we really only eat fried chicken maybe once a month. It is just really hard for me to make something the same way every time. There are so many variations in the food world, I feel obligated to try them all!
The biggest secret to what makes this recipe so great is the sauce. Instead of using butter and hot sauce which is my typical go to I tried something a little different. I started with some Louisiana hot sauce, added lots and lots of fresh cracked pepper and garlic powder. Then two spoonfuls of the chicken grease. This made the sauce a lot thinner and it was able to coat each piece of the chicken really well.
I don’t claim to be southern, but fried chicken has a special place in my heart. Growing up my dad, brother and I used to sit around the kitchen eating chicken biscuits drenched in texas pete hot sauce. Flakey butter biscuits wrapped around an extra crispy chicken breast. I personally cannot eat fried chicken without hot sauce. Something about that salty crunch dipped in a vinegary punch of pepper just creates the perfect bite for me. The juicy chicken under those fried bits are just a bonus 😉
Growing up in North Carolina we didn’t have many restaurant options. My roommate and I would drive over the state line to Georgia after work to pick up Chick Fil A sandwiches and buffalo sauce. Of course we would have to eat them on the way home before they were cold!
Now I am lucky enough to have a plethora of restaurants to choose from, but there is just something about cooking in your own kitchen. Deciding on exactly what ingredients you want to form your meals.
These sandwiches are made with my go to fried chicken recipe dipped in a mild garlic buffalo sauce. I made my own buns, but potato buns would be a great alternative. Something with a really soft buttery texture. I didn’t have any lettuce or pickles on hand, but they would be a great addition!
There comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to decide: breast or thigh? I very rarely had fried chicken growing up. In an Italian home you typically have chicken roasted and incorporated into dishes. In my adult life I became very fond of the grilled chicken thigh, but never did I ever think I would be partial to frying chicken thighs. I always preferred breast. I even prided myself in being able to fry such juicy pieces of chicken while using the leanest part available.
Today I am here to introduce you to the fried chicken thigh. And I have no regrets. My signature spicy coating over a boneless skinless thigh retains so much juice and flavor while still being very easy to pull apart. This is crucial if you are serving as a sandwich. That is the biggest problem with fried breast on a sandwich. Trying to take a bite without pulling the entire piece of chicken with you.
For the seasoning I highly recommend using the Kroger brand pork seasoning. It has low salt and is almost 50% paprika which is the key to getting that super dark rich fried chicken coloring. You are welcome to make your own. It is a blend of paprika, brown sugar, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of salt.
Honey butter is one of my favorite indulgences. The richness of the salted butter combined with the sweet smooth honey flavor just cannot be beat. This brings back memories of Sunday dinners when I was growing up. My mom usually paired a comforting bowl of chili with corn bread twists and hot honey butter. I wanted to spice things up a little bit and added some jalapeno. It ended up being the perfect balance of salty, sweet and spicy. This entire meal was built around this jalapeno honey butter to be honest. Just try not to eat it all! Savory toast smothered in this butter topped with crispy chicken breast. The side dish possibilities are endless.
What you need:
For the jalapeno honey butter-
1 fresh jalapeno – seeded, ribs removed, and finely chopped
2 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp honey
For the chicken-
2 chicken breasts
2 cup of flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 cup of milk
peanut oil for frying
For the honey butter:
Melt the butter and mix in the jalapenos and honey. Once combined place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
For the chicken:
I preheated a deep fryer with the peanut oil at 375. Mix together the egg and milk. Add chicken and soak while the rest of the ingredients are put together. In a separate bowl mix together flour and spices. Drop chicken into the flour mix and cover entirely. Fry the chicken until internal temp is 155 (the chicken will continue to rise to 165 once you let rest). My chicken was about 1/2 inch thick and took around 15 minutes to fry. Remember to flip the chicken half way through for even coloring.
Let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes then slice in half.
Toast the sourdough bread and top with the chilled butter.