A couple months ago I was at my kitchen table with a 6-piece order of chicken nuggets and a squeeze bottle of honey. There were french fries, ketchup and mustard—and a fair amount of double, triple and quadruple dipping. It was late on a weeknight and I was recovering from skipping dinner to go to an event.
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about bone broth lately—and how people are drinking it and cooking with it for its nutrients and minerals. In John’s case, bone broth has been a family staple. His son had food allergies, so John started making his own broths to control the ingredients in his family’s meals. After doing this for almost 20 years, he decided to bring his chicken, fish and vegetable broths to the public.
I visited John’s booth at the Farmers Market one afternoon and tasted samples of his broths. The chicken broth was pleasing and subtle with a hint of thyme and a bit of sweetness from the vegetables. When I took a sip I immediately thought of honey:
What if I made oatmeal using this chicken broth—and drizzled honey on top?
I asked John for a bottle and brought it home for experimentation.
As I racked my brain for something crunchy to serve with the oatmeal—walnuts? almonds?—I remembered my crispy chicken nuggets—the ones I smothered in honey the night I met John. I could fry my own chicken—real chicken—and serve that on top.
I felt a little nervous—as though I might be judged for pairing fried chicken with a product designed for health. But I couldn’t escape the logic:
chicken goes with honey
thyme goes with honey
bone broth has chicken and thyme
oats go with honey
oats need liquid
bone broth is a liquid
The oatmeal begins with boneless, skinless chicken thighs for their flavor, juiciness and minimal cooking time.
The chicken brines for a good, long while with buttermilk, thyme and lemon zest for a juicy, flavorful piece of meat that compliments the subtly sweet and thymey broth.
After the chicken has had a chance to tenderize and absorb the herby flavors, it gets dredged and fried until crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside.
Rolled oats get simmered in the rich and savory broth until they are soft and plump, like porridge. Since the broth is tasty to drink on its own, you don’t need to add any other flavors.
The oatmeal gets a stream of honey, followed by the crispy chicken and crunchy golden fried garlic for spice and texture. Then comes one last drizzle of honey to encourage double, triple and quadruple dipping.
It’s true that this hearty bone broth dish might not exist if it weren’t for the time I binged on chicken nuggets and honey. But after frying my own crispy chicken and swiping each bite through a bowl of savory, honey-streaked oatmeal, I was pretty grateful for the inspiration—and the upgrade.
Thank you, Five Way Foods, for sponsoring this post and recipe! Five Way Foods will be at Boston Public Market from April 27 to May 1. For more information on their chicken, fish and vegetable broths, visit their website.
This recipe combines a rich, herby and slightly sweet bone broth with hearty oatmeal and juicy fried chicken thighs. There’s sweet honey, crispy garlic, herbs and fresh lemon zest to perk up the savory chicken flavors. If you’re looking to make this for brunch, brine the chicken the night before and fry it the morning of.
Crispy Chicken Oatmeal
serves 2 hungry (or 4 peckish) eaters
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 lb)
1 16-oz bottle Five Way Foods Chicken Bone Broth
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3 – 4 cups peanut oil*
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (about 1 heaping tbsp)
honey, for drizzling
For the brine:
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp dry thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
For the dredge:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 scant tsp Kosher salt
heavy-duty frying pan (cast iron or Dutch oven)
tongs or wire basket
- In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, lemon zest, thyme, cayenne and salt together.
- Trim the chicken thighs of any undesired fat and place them in the bowl with the buttermilk mixture. Toss to coat, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator for 4 hours to overnight.
- Whisk the flour, corn starch, cayenne, garlic powder and salt together in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Set aside.
- Pour the oats and bone broth into a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
- Simmer the oats for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and remove the oats from the heat. The steam will continue to cook the oats.
- Pour the oil into a heavy-duty pan to a level of about 1/2 inch.* Heat the oil to 365°.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Pour 1 tablespoon of the brine into the flour mixture and mash it around with a fork. This will help crispy bits form on the chicken.
- Working in batches, shake any excess brine off of the chicken and dredge in the flour mixture. Using tongs or a wire basket, shake the chicken to remove excess flour.
- Transfer the chicken to the hot oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. The oil temperature will drop a little. Just be sure to heat the oil back to 365° before frying the next batch.
- Fry the chicken for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes on each side (depending on its thickness), until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 165°. Repeat for the remaining batches.
- Using tongs or a wire basket, transfer the chicken to a wire rack.**
- While the chicken cools, heat 2 tbsp of the chicken frying oil in a small frying pan until it shimmers. Add the chopped garlic.
- Toss and fry for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic is toasted and golden. Transfer to a small plate lined with a paper towel.
- To plate the oatmeal, uncover the pot and stir the oats. Thin them out, if necessary, with a few drops of water. Divide the oats between serving bowls and drizzle with honey. Place the chicken on top, along with the toasted garlic and more honey. Eat immediately.
*The amount of oil varies according to the size of your pan. 3 cups will fill a 10″ pan with about 1/2″ oil.
**when the chicken is done frying, relocate the hot frying pan to a cool burner and allow the oil to cool before handling it. I recommend reusing the oil, but if you need to discard it, wait until it cools, pour it into an empty container, and throw it in the trash.
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