I currently reside in this little village called Nashville. You’ve probably heard of it. Nashville is well known for quite a few things. Country music, honky-tonk bars and hot chicken are some of our shiny attributes and never fail to impress locals and tourists alike.
Hot chicken is and always has been a big deal here. I could go into the history, but my short attention span and the conflicting stories lead me to one conclusion concerning its origin. A really good cook got really mad at her significant other and loaded his chicken dinner with enough cayenne pepper to make him think twice about doing that again. Whatever THAT was. Short story — he loved it! Maybe that revenge should have been served cold.
I have enjoyed all of the local establishments that feature hot chicken, but occasionally I just want a plain chicken sandwich with extra pickles and some waffle fries. Unfortunately, this craving usually happens on Sunday. It’s a sad, sad story.
The recipe that I’m sharing comes very close to replicating this particular sandwich, and I hope you enjoy it on any given weekday. Eat more chikin. Cheers!
4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
1 16-ounce jar dill pickle chips
2 cups water
5 1-ounce packets Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. powdered sugar
3 T. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. black pepper
4 T. butter
2 T. honey
4 sandwich buns
Peanut oil for frying
For the brine:
Strain the pickles over a large bowl and set pickles aside. Add water to the pickle juice and whisk in four packets of the dressing mix, sugar and 1 T. of the salt. Pour this brine into a large zip-top bag and add chicken. Refrigerate up to three hours.
Heat oil in deep fryer to 330 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and top with a cooling rack.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, powdered sugar, remaining seasoning packet, salt and pepper.
Pull chicken from the brine and coat in flour mixture. Let sit on rack for about five minutes then dredge in flour again.
Deep fry breasts about eight to 10 minutes until no pink remains. Transfer chicken to a clean rack to cool.
For the buns:
Heat butter and honey in a small saucepan until combined then transfer mixture to a large skillet. Over low heat, toast the split buns in the honey butter.
Spread the bottom with mayonnaise, top with chicken breast, dill pickles and close the sandwich with the top bun.
Sharon Little is a community contributor for the Kingsport Times-News.