You might not think to look for cheddar biscuits, sausage gravy, and fried chicken in Chicago, but they're a favorite on the brunch menu at GreenRiver, a Michelin-starred restaurant located in the Windy City's Streeterville neighborhood. The menu at GreenRiver is "extremely seasonal, so you’ll see the omelet change or a few ingredients in each dish change with what we’re inspired by at the farmer’s market," explained executive chef Aaron Lirette in an email to Extra Crispy. But it's also filled with elevated takes on beloved comfort food and classic brunch dishes—like these cheddar biscuits with fried chicken and sausage gravy.
Fortunately for home cooks who might be intimidated by making biscuits and fried chicken from scratch, chef Lirette's recipe for cheddar biscuits and fried chicken is fairly easy—but you do need to make sure you plan ahead. If you're making this for a brunch crowd, start the day before to make sure everything's prepped and the chicken has enough time to soak in the buttermilk mix. Really, the trick to successfully making fried chicken, according to chef Lirette, is having a well-considered plan, even post-frying. "It sounds simple, but most people don’t think about the end game," he explained, "making sure they have something to properly dispose the oil in once they‘ve finished frying the chicken. So, my advice is to of course, be careful while frying the chicken, and also make sure you have a receptacle to put the oil in when you’re done."
As for the biscuits? "The key is handling the dough carefully and not overworking it," said chef Lirette, adding, "Make a conscious effort not to knead it too much." And even though it takes a while, it's totally doable at home.
Cheddar Biscuits with Sausage Gravy and Fried Chicken
- Yields: 12 biscuits
For the Cheddar Biscuits
Make the Cheddar Biscuits
Start by scaling out butter and buttermilk. Cut butter in small pieces or grate with box grater, and return both butter and buttermilk to refrigerator.
Scale and combine all dry ingredients into a bowl. Whisk together to ensure all dry ingredients are evenly distributed. Add butter, buttermilk, and cheddar to dry ingredients.
Once almost mixed together, flip onto a dry clean work space. Spread the mixture out, and then fold back onto itself. You should be able to do this 6 times. Butter chunks should still be visible.
If rolling out, roll biscuit dough to about an inch thick and punch with desired radius. You can punch out biscuits, and then reroll once. You can also use a portion scoop such as an ice cream scoop or a measuring cup. Brush biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
For the Sausage Gravy
Make the Sausage Gravy
Heat canola oil in pan, until right before pan starts to smoke. Add sausage. Once fat has rendered out of sausage and the sausage has browned, remove from pan.
Add onions to pan. Cook until translucent, approximately 5—10 minutes. Add butter. Once butter is melted, add flour. Whisk butter until the mixture thickens, and the smell resembles buttered popcorn. Start whisking in milk. Bring to a boil.
Once mixture has begun to thicken to desired consistency, add back in sausage, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Finish with salt to taste.
For the Fried Chicken
For the Buttermilk Overnight Mix
Make the Fried Chicken
Soak chicken thighs in buttermilk mixture overnight.
Combine dry ingredients for chicken dredge in a bowl together. Take chicken out of buttermilk, and put directly into flour mixture. Make sure chicken is coated thoroughly. Set chicken aside for 5—10 minutes, then coat the chicken in flour mixture again.
Fry chicken in oil at 350°F for 6—10 minutes or until internal temperature is 165°F.