Editor’s Note: When we hunger for clever twists on the classics we grew up with, we take to these savvy restaurants, where everything old is newfangled again. Say hello to the Best New Comfort Foods.
Fried chicken has roots in the pre–Civil War Deep South, where the rustic dish was often cooked in lard to give day laborers more energy for toiling in the fields. These days, the Local Eatery & Pub’s Craig Baker deconstructs the Sunday-dinner staple into a cooking-school final exam dish reminiscent of chicken cordon bleu or rolled meats from Eastern Europe. Here, the step-by-step skinny on this rich, satisfying dish.
14655 N. Gray Rd., Westfield, 317-218-3786, localeateryandpub.com
Baker’s kitchen staff starts with meaty thighs from Gunthorp Farms’ Cornish Cross, raised on pastures near LaGrange, Indiana. The thighs are cleaned and then pounded thin to accommodate the filling.
Additional thigh meat is ground, chopped, and seasoned with garlic, thyme, oregano, and paprika to make a flavorful stuffing, traditionally called “forcemeat.”
The filling is rolled up in the pounded chicken thighs and wrapped in strips of bacon from Smoking Goose. The roulade is then baked for about 45 minutes until it’s cooked through but still juicy.
The roulade is sliced, soaked in buttermilk flavored with garlic, and dipped into a seasoned flour breading. After the slices are deep-fried, they are served atop rustic mashed potatoes with a classic chicken gravy of housemade stock thickened with roux.
This article appeared in the January 2014 issue.