Woo-hoo! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! It is here, it is here! But this year I am parting with tradition a bit. I have always shared a cupcake recipe for my last post of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. However, today you are getting a full-sized cake! And when I say full sized, I mean it. This Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting is a whopper!
Kind of like my waist size after I gobbled it all up…but whatever! It was completely worth every inch it added as well as every additional minute I spent in the gym afterwards working it off. This imposing cake features a layer of silky, dreamy Baileys swiss meringue buttercream nestled between two big, tall layers of moist, rich and intensely chocolatey cake which has been frosted with a decadent chocolate ganache. The Baileys Buttercream makes another appearance as the garnish on top of the cake. A chocolate lovers bliss I tell you!
Even the Husband, who doesn’t really go in for chocolate desserts, couldn’t get enough of it. He must have asked me a dozen times to make sure I saved this recipe. This Guinness Chocolate cake will definitely make an impression!
So I do apologize for not sharing a cupcake recipe. Once I made this cake and got my first little taste of it, I just couldn’t wait to share it with you. I suppose you could make it into cupcakes if you wished, but I gotta admit I am a fan of the stature of this full sized decadent delight!
Well it looks like I’ve gotta get going…my blogging is done for a while. I’ve got some Patrick’s Day festivities to attend to. So see you in a week or so, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!
Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting
Servings: 1 (excuse my french ) - Big Ass Cake, 16 servings or so depending how you slice it
Difficulty: moderate - nothing too difficult, but lots of steps!
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the internal Baileys Buttercream frosting
2 Extra – Large Egg Whites
3/4 Cups Sugar
1 Cups (2 sticks) Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool but not cold
1/8 tsp Salt
2 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8″ or two 9″ cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles. Be sure your 9″ pans are at least 2″ deep.
For the cake: Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder.
Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.
Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.
Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.
Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.
Bake the layers for 35 minutes for 8″ pans, or 45 to 50 minutes for 9″ pans, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.
For the Ganache frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is completely smooth.
Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate until the icing is spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
For the Baileys frosting:
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milky white, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the buttercream looks like it is breaking, don’t worry, it will eventually come together.
Add the salt and Baileys Irish Cream and beat for 5 seconds to combine.
To assemble: Trim one cake layer to have a flat top, if necessary (otherwise the layer will crack when you place it upside down on your cake plate).
Line the edges of a serving plate with parchment or waxed paper to keep it clean, and then place the layer upside down on top. Spread 2/3 cup of the Baileys Buttercream over just the top of the layer.
Top with another cake layer, top side down.
Spread the chocolate ganache frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Remove the parchment or waxed paper.
Place remaining Baileys Buttercream frosting in piping bag and pipe onto the top of the cake. Garnish with chocolate candies if desired.
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting:
So did I hear you say that you are totally over corned beef & cabbage? Or that you never liked it to begin with? Well, don’t fret, I’ve got a great dish that you can serve on St. Patrick’s Day and there is no corned beef in sight. What you do have is a flavorful, succulent loin of pork roasted with a Guinness & Honey glaze.
I don’t know what it is with Guinness. I don’t really just like to sit around drinking pints of the stuff. Seriously, one pint makes me feel as though I’ve eaten an entire loaf of bread. But I absolutely love every recipe where it makes an appearance. An this pork loin is no exception. That Guinness Honey Glaze is amazing – sweet and tangy. Just the perfect flavor combination for pork.
And these little potatoes are fantastic all on their own. I’ve rubbed them in a bit of bacon drippings and roasted them until soft and tender. Then they are sprinkled with a bit of sea salt. They’re great with or without the gravy.
This tasty dish is very easy to prepare leaving you plenty of time for other St. Patrick’s Day activities. Believe me, with their plate piled tall with this Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin & Roasted Potatoes no one will be missing that Corned Beef & Cabbage!
Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes
For the glaze: Place the Guinness, honey and sugar into a deep sided saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is reduced by half and thickens to make a syrupy glaze. Take care that the mixture does not boil out of the pot onto your stove. You will be very sorry to have to clean up that sticky mess!
Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Place in in a roasting tin and bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, generously baste the pork with the glaze and then continue to cook for a further 40 -50 minutes, continuing to occasionally brush the glaze over the meat from time to time. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the glaze for the gravy.
Once it reaches an internal temperature of 160° F, remove it from the oven. Place on a cutting board to rest and tent it with aluminum foil.
Pour the 1 Tablespoon of glaze into the roasting tin, add a splash more of Guinness and one cup of broth. Place over a burner and heat until it comes to a boil. Whisk in a bit of flour if you would like the gravy to be a bit thicker.
Serve Pork with the Gravy and Roasted Potatoes.
2 lbs. Baby Red Potatoes
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 cup of reserved bacon drippings or canola oil
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the baby potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover them by 1″. Add the salt to the water and heat until they just reach a boil. Remove the potatoes from the heat, drain and pat dry.
Place the melted bacon drippings or oil into a shallow dish. Add the potatoes and stir them around until they are coated. Transfer them to a baking sheet.
Season with additional salt and pepper. Place them in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully turn the potatoes over and continue to bake for 25 more minutes, or until they are soft and fork tender.
Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes:
Yummmmmmmm! Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks! Comfort food at its finest! This potato ale soup is so creamy and flavorful on its own with that gorgeous sharp Kerry Gold Cheddar swirled into the mix, it is sheer bliss. It is then topped with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and just a bit of red pepper flakes to give it a little kick.
I would’ve said it couldn’t have gotten any better….but that was before I got a taste of those beer battered leeks. SQUEEEEE!!! Those fried leeks are so crispy with a lovely delicate flavor – they just melt in your mouth! I know deep frying stuff can be a bit of a pain in the neck, but seriously….you’ve just got to do it for these leeks. Sooooooo worth it!
I must admit, I was a bit nervous when I was making this soup. You see, several years ago when the Husband and I were on holiday in Newfoundland, we went into a local brewery and ordered some cheddar ale soup to go along with our pints. We were expecting a little cup, but then big ole honking bowls of soup came out. It was pretty tasty I must say, so foolishly we gobbled it all up. We finished our pints somewhere along the way and ordered seconds. When we got up to leave we couldn’t believe it. It felt as though that soup had tripled in size or that I had somehow eaten all of St. Johns. I have never been that full in my life. We could barely move. I thought someone was going to have to roll us back to our hotel. When we finally did make it back there, we just laid about the place for hours moaning about our bellies. Good times right?
But this Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup was thankfully nothing like that. Although it is hearty and filling, it isn’t heavy at all. I would recommend that you use a lighter ale or lager with this recipe to avoid weighing it and yourself down! Goodness knows there are parties & parades you’ve got to get to. And green beer to guzzle…
Or maybe you stay in this year. Seen one parade, you’ve seen them all? You could just cozy up with a nice warming bowl of this lovely soup all topped with those glorious little leeks and enjoy some quality me time. Everyone knows beer has no business being green anyway!
Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks
Difficulty: easy - but a bit messy what with the frying of the leeks. SO worth it though!
8ounces Kerry Gold sharp cheddar cheese,freshly grated, plus more for topping
3 to 4tablespoonscream,for drizzling
fresh herbs for garnish,like thyme, oregano or basil
red pepper flakes for garnish
For the Beer Battered Leeks:
2 cupsall-purpose flour
12ouncesirish ale or your favorite beer
vegetable or canola oil for frying
For the Soup:
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Stir in the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and even begin to caramelize slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the potatoes, stock and ale. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to medium-low and let it simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Carefully pour the contents in a high-powered blender (if needed, you can do it in two batches). Blend until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot. Or alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and just keep the soup in the pot. Once blended, heat it over low heat, stirring well. Stir in the grated cheese, one handful at a time, until it completely melts. Make sure you add the cheese SLOWLY over low heat, so it melts right into the soup. Taste and season additionally if desired – you may want a little more salt and pepper depending on the saltiness of your cheese!
To serve the soup, drizzle 1 tablespoon of cream over top. Top with a handful of the beer battered leeks, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, some fresh herbs and pepper. Serve immediately.
For the Beer Battered Leeks:
Cover a large plate with a paper towel or two.
Heat about 2 to 3 inches of oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat the oil to be about 350° F. In this instance, Use a candy/deep fry thermometer to ensure it reaches and remains at the correct temperature.
Whisk together 1 cup of flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Whisk in the beer until the batter is smooth. Place the other cup of flour in a plate. Add the leeks to the beer batter in batches, covering them completely. Remove them from the beer batter and place them in the flour on the plate, tossing to coat. Shake off any excess flour. Add the coated leeks to the oil and fry until the batter is golden brown and flakey. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain and excess grease.
Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks:
So I know, I know…St. Patrick’s Day hasn’t even happened and here I am talking about corned beef leftovers. But I just want you to be ready, you know…have a plan, be one step ahead…you get it. And this Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Strata will do that for you. A strata is basically a savory bread pudding. And this one has layers of gorgeous corned beef and creamy Irish cheddar. But wait, I’m not done. If that didn’t have your mouth-watering, it is topped with crispy hash browns!
And here is the amazing thing – you do the majority of the preparation the night before you want to serve it. So after you enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage, you take a few seconds to assemble this strata. The pop it in the fridge and get on out there to enjoy the parades or parties or whatever shenanigans your heart desires. When you get up the next morning all you have to do while you’re having your coffee and swearing that you’ll never drink again, is bake the strata. While it’s baking prepare the hash browns and voila! Your recovery brunch is ready! I’m assuming, of course, that you did partake in a few green beers…Not only will folks be thrilled by your big Corned Beef feast on St. Patrick’s, but you can wow them and cure their hangover the next morning with this yummy strata.
1 lb. leftover corned beef brisket, chopped or sliced
8 oz. Irish cheddar, grated (I used Kerry Gold Cheddar)
1 1/2 cups half & half
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
10 oz. frozen mini potato hash browns (you can substitute in tater tots, or if you are feeling industrious, make a fresh batch of hash browns from any leftover potatoes you might have from your St. Patrick’s Day feast)
minced fresh chives for garnish
Butter an 8X8″ square dish. Spread 1/2 of the bread cubes over the bottom. Top with 1/2 of the corned beef and then scatter 1/2 of the cheese over that. Repeat the layering, ending with the cheese.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the half-and-half, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined. Pour the custard mixture evenly over the strata. Cover the strata with plastic wrap and weigh it down with heavy cans, bottles or pie weights. Chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Remove the strata from the fridge 20 minutes before baking and let it come to room temperature.
Bake until the center is puffed and the edges have pulled away from the sides – approximately 50 – 60 minutes.
Let strata stand while preparing the hash brown topping.
Cook hash browns according to package directions. You want the hash browns to be crispy, so possibly cook a bit longer than the package recommends.
Arrange the crispy hash browns over the top of the strata. Garnish with chives.
Overnight Leftover Corned Beef Strata with Crispy Hashbrown Topping brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Overnight Leftover Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Strata with Crispy Hashbrowns:
Who isn’t ready for a bit of sunshine after so many months of dreary, dark and soggy weather? Well, I’m not sure that I can order that up for you. Good ole Punxsutawney Phil, my favorite varmint, said that Spring was coming soon. But maybe in the meantime you can make due by whipping up a batch of golden bright Meyer Lemon Curd, which is veritable sunshine in a jar. I got the recipe for this Lemon Curd from one of my best friends, Theresa Storey. A couple of years ago, Theresa published her first cookbook where you can find the recipe for this Lemon Curd along with over 100 other delicious seasonal fruit recipes. It is called Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.
Theresa runs a business, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. Theresa grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.
Theresa’s book, Fruit on the Table is a top 10 best-selling cookbook in Ireland , has won a Gourmond award there and has been selected to compete for an International Gourmond award. In her book, Theresa follows the seasons and tells you how best to keep fruit on your table all year round. It is an absolute treasure trove, filled not only with her family recipes for jams, jellies and chutneys but it also runs the full gambit of meals, including recipes for cocktails, snacks , mains and going all the way through to desserts. And it doesn’t stop with the mouthwateringly delicious recipes, Fruit on the Table also gives you the low down on growing your own fruit, the ins and outs of preserving, tips on foraging as well as drying fruit. I’m proud to be sharing these recipes from her book this year and I shared quite a few last year as well, but I’m telling you, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve just gotta get ahold of this essential cookbook. And if you find yourself in Limerick, you simply must stop by the Limerick Milk Market and pay the Green Apron shop a visit!
And this year, I’ll be sharing her Lemon Curd recipe. Quite the game-changer, this quick & easy curd can be made in the microwave. You will have it ready in absolutely no time at all….well maybe 15 minutes or so.
Theresa used regular lemons in her recipe. I was lucky enough to have some Meyer Lemons in hand, so I used them. Meyer Lemons, which originated in China, are a cross between a regular lemon and a Mandarin Orange. This results in a somewhat sweeter, really vibrant tasting lemon without the acidic aspect. They are a gorgeous golden-yellow colour, kind of like egg yolks and have a much thinner skin than regular lemons. Because they are smaller than regular lemons, I used 5, rather than three, to make this recipe.
This delightfully sweet yet tart spread is delicious smeared on scones, swirled into your morning oatmeal or yogurt, or simply eaten by the spoonful! Brighten up your day with this reminder that the sun will soon reappear.
3 large lemons ( I used Meyer Lemons which are a bit smaller. I ended up using 5 Meyer lemons).
110 grams (4 oz.) butter
2 large eggs
225 grams (8 oz.) sugar
Wash the lemons and carefully grate the zest off all three. Juice two of the lemons and measure the juice. You want about 5 tablespoons. If you don’t have enough, juice the last one.
Put the butter in a small bowl and microwave on medium heat for a bout one minute until soft and starting to melt. remove from the microwave, stir to distribute the heat evenly and then set aside.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until just combined. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir through.
Add the softened ed butter and whisk the whole lot together until combined
Place the bowl of curd mixture into the microwave and cook on medium heat for one minute. Take it out, give it a quick whisk and put in back in for another minute. Cook it in one minute burst on medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (It takes me about 5 minutes.) Beware of overcooking: it thickens as it coos.
Taste the curd. If it needs more lemon, add some more juice, one teaspoon at a time, until you are happy with the flavor, and then microwave ti for another minute to incorporate the newly added juice.
Now it is ready to eat, so pour it into warm sterilized jars, lid and seal. The curd will keep 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Meyer Lemon Curd brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Quick & Easy Meyer Lemon Curd:
Breakfast for dinner? Absolutely – especially if it is this dish! Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce is just amazing. Now, I know when you hear bacon, you might be thinking breakfast. But this is a pretty hardy meal and everyone knows, bacon is good anytime – breakfast, 2nd breakfast, elevenses, lunch, tea, dinner, supper, late night snack…I think you get the picture.
The bacon I used here is not the streaky bacon you are likely more familiar with. This is Irish Bacon or rashers. It is traditionally cut from the back of the pig rather than the belly, which is from where streaky bacon is cut. It is similar to Canadian Bacon, but I would say has a very different flavor. Irish Bacon, or rashers as they are usually called are cooked until done, but are not until crisp like American bacon. Truth be told, the original recipe for this dish calls for uncured loin of pork. A pork chop essentially, but I happened to have some rashers on hand, so there you have it. If you have pork chops, feel free to sub them in!
One thing I can tell you is you are absolutely going to love this decadent, silky Colcannon Butter Sauce. I think the Husband wants to put it on everything now. And potato leek cakes are right up our alley as well. Can’t do wrong with fried potatoes, not to mention the leeks. We can’t get enough of them! All in all this meal was truly a winner and would be a perfect alternative to a corned beef & cabbage feast. Or maybe make it the day after St. Patrick’s…who says you can’t have it all!
Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce
2 leeks, trimmed, green & white parts separated and finely sliced
2 Tablespoons butter
3 potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 heaping Tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 medium egg yolk
For the Colcannon Sauce:
50 grams (1/4 stick) butter
5 cabbage leaves, finely shredded
a small potato, finely diced
4 Tablespoons white wine
200 ml heavy cream
For Garnish: handful of cherry tomatoes (if desired)
Make the potato cakes: Fry the dark green part of the leek in a little butter, and mix well with the potato, flour, cream and egg yolk. Place the potato mixture into the refrigerator to cool. The mixture becomes easier to handle and shape when cool. Once it has chilled, then mould into four to six small round discs. Set aside until ready to serve.
Make the Colcannon Butter Sauce: Melt half the butter in a pan and add the cabbage and potato. Cook slowly for 5 mins, then pour in the white wine and reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce by half. Season and remove from the heat. Stir the rest of the butter into the sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.
Cook the Bacon: Heat a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. Fry the rashers of bacon until they are golden on each side. Should only take a few minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.
Add a bit more butter to the pan. Sweat the remaining white part of the leeks and some tomatoes if you desire. Season to taste. Remove from the pan and set aside. Fry the potato cakes in the remaining butter for 2 minutes on each side.
Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce:
Donnelly Imported Rashers – This is for an 8 pack of bacon. More than you need for this recipe, but you might be feeding a crowd for all I know…
Here we are, with St. Patrick’s Day only 6 days away. That means it is time for me to start my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. Yup, I’ll be sharing one lovely Irish-y recipe everyday with you, right up to the big day this Sunday March 17th! Now I think managing to publish one recipe daily for seven days is a pretty impressive feat. But, a few years ago I was completely mad and used to start on March 1st and do a new recipe each day until March 17th. That is why you can find over 100 delicious St. Patrick’s Day recipes on my blog. If you’d like to take a peek at my past St. Patrick’s Day posts, you can click Runcible Eat/Recipes up at the top navigation bar and scroll down to the St. Patrick’s Day category. That’s where you’ll find them! And stay tuned here for my latest additions this year. I’m going to kick this whole thing off with this lovely recipe for Baileys Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Soft and pillowy, these cookies are a bit more cake-like than your traditional chocolate chip cookies due to the addition of cream cheese and cornstarch. Another thing they’ve got on your average chocolate chip cookies is that these little devils are infused with Baileys. And let me tell you, that decadent Baileys flavor is very prominent. An what flavor is more evocative of Ireland…you know I mean besides Guinness…oh and whiskey. But then again whiskey is in the Baileys, so there you go.
Folks absolutely love Baileys. In fact, on December 3rd, 2007, the manufacturers of the beloved liqueur, announced the sale of the billionth bottle of Baileys since it was first introduced. A billion is a lot right? But you’re probably thinking, yeah but Baileys has been around for ever. They’ve had a lot of time to get to 1 billion. You’d be wrong. Baileys wasn’t introduced until 1973! Hard to believe! Baileys was the first Irish Cream to go on the market as well. There have certainly been plenty of imitators since then, but Baileys continues to rule supreme.
And a little birdie just told me that the Baileys folks have introduced Irish Cream flavored chocolate baking chips! The chips are at a few select retailers right now but will roll out nationwide ahead of Easter this year. If you just can’t wait, you can also get ahold of them on Amazon. I have provided a link below.
But back to the Baileys Chocolate Chip Cookies we have today. The Baileys is in the batter, not the chips. And Oh my does it pair so well with those rich chocolate morsels. So easy to make and even easier to scarf down with a cold glass of milk…or maybe a nice cup of coffee spiked with a bit of Baileys. Don’t worry, I’ll never tell!
Baileys Chocolate Chip Cookies
Servings: 30 cookies - depending on how you scoop them
Anyone out there heard of Nashville Hot Chicken? If you have, I’ll give you a couple of minutes to finish that happy dance you must be doing at the mention of it right now, for those of you who haven’t … Oh, good Lord child, hold onto your hat! Nashville Hot Chicken is the local specialty of Nashville. You see in Nashville, they don’t just have fried chicken, which is awesome all on its lonesome, I must say. No, they have a very special, spicy hot chicken. Served up atop a piece of white bread and topped with pickles, the chicken there is marinated in a hot, spicy buttermilk brine, dredged in a spicy hot flour dredge, fried and then slathered with a fiery cayenne glaze – and that’s the mild version! Folks in Nashville are not playing! This chicken is a taste sensation that will truly light up all of your senses! The husband and I love us some spicy food, so this is right up our alley.
As is Nashville. The chicken isn’t the only thing that’s hot there! Obviously if you love country music, you should make a bee line for this destination. But country music isn’t the only thing on the menu – we’ve pretty much come across every genre of music when visiting there. They don’t call it Music City for nothing! Not to mention, if you love food – the dynamic food scene you will find in Nashville is amazing! The signature hot chicken isn’t all there is to be had, so those of you with more tender taste buds do not need to despair.
The husband and I have visited two times and are always planning for our next trip there. We’ve enjoyed all sorts of music entertainment – from beloved bluegrass at the iconic Station Inn to all that the honky tonks of Broadway have to offer! And food wise – yes we have sampled the Nashville Hot Chicken (more on that to come…) but we’ve also enjoyed inspired mexican dishes at St. Anjeo
and to die for fusion Indian/American southern dishes at the Chauhan Ale & Masala House
as well as all the barbecue, biscuits,
and fine dining you can shake a stick at. Nashville has it all going on ya’ll! And where should one stay while experiencing this bustling town? Well both times we’ve visited, we’ve stayed in a lovely suite at the Thompson Nashville in the Gulch.
The Gulch is a very trendy, hip neighborhood on the southwest fringe of downtown Nashville. It is only blocks from Music City Central and just steps to the downtown honky tonks. This luxury hotel shares the block with the aforementioned Station Inn and boasts a fantastic rooftop bar & lounge as well as an award winning restaurant. While I’m sure all of their rooms are lovely, the Thompson suite is absolutely decadent. So spacious, boasting floor to ceiling windows, wet bars, clawfoot bathtubs, rain showers and Nashville inspired finishes – such as sliding barn doors and Marshall bluetooth speakers – this room is a destination in itself.
But let me get back to that Hot Chicken. On our last visit to Nashville, the Husband and I decided to go sample some of the city’s hot chicken. Although the African-American community in the area had been enjoying spicy chicken for generations, Nashville Hot Chicken as it is now known was likely introduced in 1930. Apparently, there was a gentleman who was quite a womanizer. After a late night out, after which he was unable, or unwilling to provide the details of which to his current girlfriend, she saw fit to exact a little revenge on him and fried him up a special batch of chicken on which she quite liberally applied the cayenne. In a twist of fate, the victim here ended up really loving this fiery chicken. The gentleman for whom this revenge chicken was prepared was from the family of Andre Prince Jeffries – the proprietor of Prince’s Hot Chicken Shacks, one of the better known hot chicken places in Nashville. They’ve been serving up this signature dish since the 1930s. Currently there are over two dozen establishments in Nashville serving up their own versions of Hot Chicken. The husband and I chose to check out Hattie B’s Nashville Hot Chicken.
Hattie B’s is a no frills kind of place, we dined on a wooden picnic table on a screened in porch, but that doesn’t seem to stop folks from lining up around the block to get ahold of some of their molten gold. We stood in line for about 30 minutes on the day we visited, but it was so worth it!They offer several spice levels for their chicken – southern, mild, medium, hot, damn hot and shut the cluck up! So, as I’ve mentioned, we like spicy and consider ourselves somewhat spice experienced. Spice aficionados. So I decided to go for the hot chicken. The husband he went for damn hot. And we couldn’t resist ordering one chicken tender that was designated at the “shut the cluck up” level.
Well, all I can say is by Nashville Hot Chicken standards, we are pretty much novices. I could eat my “hot” chicken – but it took quite a good portion of that pitcher of beer we ordered to get it down. I’m telling you this was a brow mopping, slightly sweating experience. There was absolutely no way I was going to even attempt one small taste of the “shut the cluck up’ tender that had been sitting there mocking us as we persevered through our chicken choices. But the Husband, although his mouth was already on fire, was not one to back down to a challenge. So, God help him, he took a bite!
Yup…..just as I suspected. It was pretty much life changing! There are ghost peppers rumored to be in play here. What it taught us is respect. We respect Nashville Hot Chicken now. Oh we still order it, but are always careful to get a more descriptive explanation of the spice level involved, using Hattie B’s as a baseline. That chicken hurts so good, but is not for the faint of heart!
But back to this recipe I’m sharing with you today. Do not be scared. Although I am calling this Nashville Hot Chicken, it is very very mild to what I just described.
And if you really don’t like a lot of spice, don’t bother with the spicy glaze. What you must do is the brine. This chicken is so moist, tender and flavorful, which I think is mostly due to that brine. You don’t want to miss out on that. And just know going into this that chickens now a days are so bred to be so huge, more like turkeys really, it is unlikely you will be able to get the larger pieces like the breast and thighs done when deep-frying. You should plan to finish the chicken in the oven.
And although it is traditional to serve Nashville Hot Chicken with a piece of white bread and pickles, I served mine up with some soft, tender buttermilk biscuits which we slathered with honey butter.
Quite the treat I must say. The chicken is delicious, but these biscuits are pretty amazing all on their own. Soft and airy, but with a bit of a crispy crust on the outside. Sturdy enough to hold up as a sandwich. And out of this world simply smeared with honey butter!
So if you are ready for a taste adventure, book that trip to Nashville and give Prince’s or Hattie B’s a whirl. For an introduction to the cuisine, or to start your taste bud training, whip up this recipe!
Nashville Hot Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter
Servings: 4 - 6
Difficulty: easy - but does involve deep-frying & all the mess that goes along with it...
1 Tablespoon vinegar-based hot sauce, such as Frank’s
1/4 cup Nashville spice-mix
For the Seasoned Flour Dredge:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Nashville Spice Mix
For the dip:
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For the glaze:
1/2 cup Nashville Spice Mix
1 cup reserved oil from frying
sea salt for seasoning
Whisk all of the ingredients for the Nashville Spice Mix together until combined and set aside.
Place the chicken in a large dish. Combine 4 cups of the buttermilk, hot sauce and the Nashville Spice Mix. Mix thoroughly and then pour over the chicken. Cover and allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 3 – 8 hours. I prefer a longer marinade and just let the chicken marinate overnight.
About 30 minutes before you are ready to fry the chicken, remove it from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Then leave it to rest on a wire rack which has been placed over a baking sheet. Allow the chicken to drain and come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven the 350° F. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and spice mix and set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, egg, baking power and baking soda for the dip.
Place a large, heavy Dutch oven on the stove. Clip a deep-fry thermometer to the side and fill with about 3 inches of oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 350°F.
Pick up a piece of the chicken, dredge it in the seasoned flour. Shake any excess flour from the chicken and then dip it into the egg mixture. Give it a shake and then dip it once more into the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess again.
Slide the coated chicken, skin side down into the hot oil. Once all of the chicken you are cooking in that batch has been added to the pan, adjust the flame as necessary. Cook for about 8-10 minutes and then check the chicken. It should be golden brown. Remove the chicken from the oil to baking tray lined with paper towels. Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. It should register 165°F, if it has not reached this level, but is a perfect shade of golden brown, place the chicken into the preheated oven to finish cooking. Continue frying the chicken, remembering to allow the oil to return to 350°F between batches.
Once all of the chicken is cooked, move it from the paper towels to a wire cooling rack which has been set over a rimmed baking sheet. Add some of the hot cooking oil to the remaining Nashville Spice Mix and whisk until a paste forms. You want the paste to be thin enough to brush over the chicken as a glaze, so add as much oil as you need to achieve this consistency. Generously glaze the chicken and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
Serve over a piece of white bread, along with some pickle chips if you want to be truly authentic. Or serve with some lovely Buttermilk Biscuits which have been slathered with Honey Butter, as I did. (Biscuit recipe noted below.)
Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter
servings: 8 – 16 biscuits depending on how you cut them!
For the biscuits:
2 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) frozen unsalted butter
1 cup cold buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
For the Honey Butter:
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Grate the frozen butter over the flour mixture and toss until all the butter is coated. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Using a fork, mix until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just one or two times. The less touching the better. Pat the dough out to a 1″ thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits out, taking care not to twist the cutter. Just push straight down and pull straight up, otherwise your biscuits will not rise as high as you might hope.
Place the biscuits on the prepared tray and brush with the beaten egg. Bake until golden-brown, about 12 -14 minutes.
Transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the softened butter, honey and salt. Mix until the butter is light and fluffy. Serve with warm biscuits and spicy chicken.
Nashville Hot Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Nashville Hot Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter:
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