With summer officially upon us, I wanted to make something perfect for picnics and staying (relatively) cool in the kitchen. Sure, fried chicken is fried, but it’s great with a summer salad and there’s no baking or hours of stirring on the stove top.
I found my recipe from my very helpful Cook It In Your Dutch Oven cookbook. While there was the traditional fried chicken, the Midwest gal in me couldn’t resist the ranch fried chicken.
In this case, ranch mostly just meant more herbs and spices, a buttermilk coating, and serving it with a side of ranch. But that also meant that it was mostly just a flavor explosion. Both the buttermilk mixture and the flour coating had the same herbs (cilantro, dill, and chives) and a lot of them. I might have added more dill because I misread teaspoons for tablespoons, but it was a delightful error.
Aside from being relatively easy and perfect for the summer season, I also found ways of making it even quicker and easier.
The lazy person in me just served it with a side of pre-made ranch rather than putting it together myself. Plus, my packages of chicken (Bare) had 10 thighs that meant I didn’t have a lot of leftover buttermilk mixture to mix with mayo for the homemade ranch.
I also skipped the step of laying out the flour-dredged pieces on their own wire-covered baking sheet to have fewer dishes to do later. This did mean dredging twice toward the end but mostly it was fine to lay it on parchment paper and/or plates.
Here’s what I did:
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 5 T. fresh chives, minced, divided
- 5 T. fresh cilantro, minced, divided
- 2 T. fresh dill, minced, divided (as mentioned above, I used more than the recipe called for)
- 2 t. white vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
- ½ c. cornstarch
- 1 ½ t. garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ~2 q. vegetable oil
- 8 to 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed if needed), about 2 lbs.
- Ranch dressing, for serving
In a medium bowl, mix together 1 c. buttermilk, 2 T. chives, 2 T. cilantro, 1 T. dill, white vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cayenne.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, the cornstarch, the remaining chives, cilantro, and dill, salt and pepper, and garlic powder.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil (about 1 ½ inches high) to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, pat the chicken thighs dry. Dip the thighs individually into the buttermilk mixture before dredging in the flour mixture. Repeat with each thigh. As I mentioned above, the recipe recommends putting the dredged raw chicken on a wire rack on a sheet pan, but that sounded like a lot of extra dishes, so I placed them on a plate — I may have had to re-dredge some, but it was OK. Use whatever method you like best to hold the ready-to-fry chicken until the oil has heated.
Once the oil is heated (and try to maintain the temperature), add the chicken 3 to 4 pieces at a time and fry until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on either a wire rack on a paper towel-lined sheet pan, or just on a paper towel-lined plate, as you desire. Repeat the frying process as needed until all chicken is cooked through.
Serve with ranch dressing, maybe some coleslaw as desired, and enjoy!