With the big game just around the corner (GO STEELERS!), who doesn’t need a recipe for a crowd pleasing finger food. I had a little leftover buttermilk in the fridge, from making some of Yo Navy Mama’s Buttermilk Pancakes (which I highly recommend), and I just picked up a bottle of McCormick’s Chipotle Chile Pepper from the spice aisle. So I thought, hmm…two great tastes that taste great together. (Yes I know that supposed to be chocolate and peanut butter, but you could see how it would work here as well.)
I make my kids first, then add a little bit more pepper to make it spicier for the grown ups. The crust is light and crisp, and you can easily adjust the heat up or down to suit your taste. A half-teaspoon worked out to be a generally agreeable heat level when eating with the kids, but we prefer a full teaspoon when my husband and I made it for ourselves. Feel free to add more if you like it super spicy though.
I go back and forth between using chicken tenderloins and slicing up boneless, skinless breasts depending on what I find on sale at the store. Either works fine, although the breasts are usually a little thicker and take another minute or two to cook. And if you prefer cutting up a whole chicken, or you just like dark meat, the recipe works equally well.
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenderloins
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. hot sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)
3/4 c. self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. McCormick’s Chipotle Chile Pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
In a large, heavy pot, heat oil to 350 degrees.
Prepare chicken by trimming off any little tendons that might be unpleasant to eat.
In a shallow dish, mix buttermilk and hot sauce. Whisk gently.
In a separate shallow dish, combine self-rising flour, Chipotle Chili Pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Dunk chicken in buttermilk mixture allowing excess to drip off and then dredge in flour mixture.* Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
Once the oil reaches 350 degrees, drop 4-5 pieces of chicken into the pan at a time. Cook until a light golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately.
*For my readers who may be new to frying, there are a few things to keep in mind…
1. You always want to fry with a light oil, like vegetable, canola or peanut. Light oils can withstand a higher temperature and don’t leave over-powering flavors in your food.
2. Follow the temperature the recipe recommends and you will know when whatever you are frying is finished. Try to keep the temperature constant. Otherwise, it will be finished on the outside but raw on the inside, or vice versa. Not good…
3. When possible, try to let your meat rest for 20 minutes or so before frying. This takes the chill off of the meat and prevents the temperature of the oil from dropping too much when you add the chicken. If you don’t have time to wait, just fry in small batches to help maintain the temperature of the oil.
4. Don’t overcrowd your pan.
5. And finally, whenever you bread or flour something for frying, be it chicken or fish, letting it rest for 10-15 minutes before you fry it gives the coating a chance to really adhere to the surface. This helps prevent all those little bits of goodness from falling off and burning on the bottom of your oil.