Inspiration can be a funny thing. When your team is 3-3, and a road game against the worst team in the Big Ten is worrisome thing, it can be a very hard to find thing. The email came from Mel earlier in the week; “who do we play this week? Minnesota? I got nothing. Any thoughts?”
There would be no reply.
I like to think the inspiration that saved Tailgate Thursday came from a text message I sent from the grocery store last week; “just bought corn meal from guy on road side, had cough, seemed okay”.
Mel’s reply was probably quite similar to yours; “WTF?”.
It took a minute, but what I sent was a vague reference to one of our favorite shows from my youth, Little House on the Prairie. Anyone with a even a passing knowledge of that show should remember the classic episode where the town buys anthrax poisoned cornmeal and a ton of one off characters die, but nobody you’ve heard of. Kind of like Ensign Numbnuts (the guy in the red shirt) from Star Trek.
Everybody now; jesse. what the hell are you talking about?
Little House on the Prairie took place in Minnesota. It was that or some kind of Prince reference, and Prince and food don’t mix in any kind of way that’s appropriate for a family site such as this one.
Mel describes this weeks entry Cinnamon Chicken, and how it relates to life and Michael Landon, in more detail on the blog, but let’s get cookin’.
For the marinade/batter:
1 quart buttermilk
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less, to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 large eggs (whisked into the marinade after the chicken has been removed from it, to form a batter)
For the flour mixture:
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, more or less, to taste
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
For the chicken and breadcrumb coating:
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg-thigh portions, trimmed of excessive overhanging flaps of fat
2 8-ounce boxes Panko breadcrumbs, or regular plain, dry breadcrumbs
For the cinnamon honey-butter drizzle:
1 stick butter
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less, to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
Step 1. In a very large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients except for the eggs. Using a pair of kitchen shears, trim the chicken of all pieces of excess overhanging fat. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat. Marinate for 2-3 hours, turning about every 15-20 minutes as well as basting occasionally with a meat baster.
Step 2. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, sugar and salt. Set aside until meat is done marinating.
Step 3. When chicken is done marinating, remove each piece of chicken from bowl, shaking off all excess marinade, and place in a 2-gallon food storage bag. Whisk the eggs into the marinade to form a thick, drizzly batter for dipping the chicken into. Place the Panko in a second large mixing bowl. Place a rack in a large roasting pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
We're going to start an assembly line-type dipping process now whereby you will coat each piece of chicken in flour, then dip it in batter, coat it with the Panko. Repeat the process until all chicken pieces are dipped, coated and arranged in pan. Bake on center rack of preheated oven 60-75 minutes, depending upon the size of your chicken pieces.
Step 4. To prepare the cinnamon honey-butter drizzzle: While the chicken is baking, melt butter over low heat and whisk in the honey, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt. When mixture is smooth and even in color, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Step 5. Remove from oven, sprinkle some sea salt over all and serve each portion with a generous drizzle of cinnamon honey-butter.