I bout cried when I saw that he had crept in right beside me, trying to get closer to the delicious smelling chicken because a week ago he wasn't eating and I thought I was going to lose him.
This old man is Hondo. We got him when he was about four years old (and already named) and have had him eight years. I've had dogs my whole life. I've loved some more than others. But I've never loved one more than this one. He’s family.
Thankfully he rebounded from his troubles (won’t go in to all the details) and I just wanted y’all to meet the best dog I've ever known. I wuff him so much :o)
Onto the chicken! “Calabash” refers to a method of frying something with just a light dusting of breader rather than a heavy batter. It originated in Calabash, NC as a way of preparing shrimp and other seafood (but mostly shrimp). Some recipes use flour, some use cornmeal and some use a mixture of both but almost all of them will be heavy on black pepper and call for marinating the protein in milk or buttermilk.
We have a restaurant chain here in the Carolinas and Georgia called Fatz Café that has perfected the art of calabash fried chicken (seriously, it’s sooooo goooooood!) so I set out to recreate it this weekend. I used whole boneless, skinless breasts and then cut them into thin strips to mimic the size of the shrimp that put “calabash style” frying on the map but feel free to use chicken breast tenderloins or, of course, shrimp!
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)
1 cup milk*
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Canola or peanut oil
Cut breasts into strips about 3/4-inch wide and add to a medium bowl or large zip-top plastic bag. Combine milk, hot sauce, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir until salt is dissolved. Add to chicken, stir, cover tightly or seal, refrigerate and marinate 12-18 hours.
Drain all marinade from the chicken; set chicken aside. Heat 4 inches of oil in a large pot to 350 degrees.
Combine flour with cornmeal salt, pepper and spices in a large paper bag or lidded container. Add 1/3 of the chicken to the breader mixture, fold bag or seal container tightly and shake vigorously to coat the chicken. Shake off any excess breader and fry chicken in batches (don’t overcrowd the pan) until golden brown and crispy.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. See below for my version of Chick-fil-A Sauce!
*Substitute buttermilk and omit hot sauce if desired. Buttermilk AND hot sauce will be too acidic to marinate the chicken this long. The hot sauce does NOT make this spicy.
3 parts honey mustard
1 part barbeque sauce
Pinch of paprika
Mix ingredients together and serve with your favorite chicken strips or chicken nuggets.