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Playing Fried Chicken Thighs and Cheesy Grits with Green Onions


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, preferably Frank's RedHot, plus more for passing at the table
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne or hot paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup medium to coarsely ground yellow corn grits or cornmeal
  • A little freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • About 2 teaspoons honey, plus more for passing at the table
  • 1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 bunch scallions, whites and greens, finely chopped


Serves: 4


Preheat the oven to 200°F. Set a metal rack on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and hot sauce. Add the chicken, turn to coat and let soak.

In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 inches of oil over medium heat until it reaches 360°F. (Or, use an electric tabletop fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions.)

In another large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and spices; season with salt and pepper. Pour half of the mixture into another bowl and set each bowl on either side of the bowl with the buttermilk.

Lift the chicken, 1 piece at a time, from the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Dredge in the flour, turning to coat. Dip again in the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip off and then in the other bowl of flour to double-coat each piece. Fry chicken, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet; keep warm in the oven.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the stock over medium heat. In a bowl, season the grits with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup water, then add the grits to the pan with the hot stock. Cook, stirring often, until the grits are tender, about 12-15 minutes.  Mix in the butter and honey, then add the cheese and scallions.

Divide the grits among 4 shallow bowls and top with the fried chicken. Pass hot sauce and honey at the table.