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      RECIPE TITLE "Shaker Buttermilk Chicken with Herb Gravy"  Excerpted from The New England Cookbook: 350 Recipies from Town and Country, Land and Sea, Hearth and Home Copyright © by Brooke Dojny, All Rights Reserved

    yields serves 4time--- difficulty moderate

    Buttermilk, originally a byproduct of butter-making, has long been a staple ingredient of New England cooks and bakers who have prized it for its tangy acidity and for its ability to tenderize foods. Nowadays, of course, buttermilk is produced commercially and is available in most supermarket dairy cases. This scrumptious chicken is an adaptation of a recipe from the Shaker Canterbury Village in central New Hampshire.

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    • 1 cup buttermilk, plus 1/2 cup
    • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • Vegetable oil for frying
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, thyme, or tarragon

      RECIPE METHOD

    In a bowl, pour the 1 cup of buttermilk over the chicken breasts, turning until all pieces are coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or for as long as overnight.
    In a shallow dish, stir together the flour, salt, pepper, and thyme. In a large, deep, preferably cast iron frying pan, heat 1/2 inch of oil to 350 degrees over medium heat. (The oil is hot enough when a cube of bread browns in about 30 seconds.)
    Lift the chicken out of the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off, and dredge well in the seasoned flour. Reserve any remaining seasoned flour.
    Fry the chicken in the hot oil, partially covered, regulating the heat so the chicken does not burn, until it is golden brown outside and white within, 8 to 10 minutes. Lift out with tongs, drain on paper towels, and transfer to a warm platter.
    Pour the oil out of the skillet but do not wash the pan. Return the skillet to the heat and add the butter. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat, for 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the seasoned flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth, the remaining 1/2 cup of buttermilk, and stir in the herbs.
    Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the chicken with the gravy spooned over.

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