Pure comfort food is the only way to describe this chicken fried chicken with apple cider gravy. Made in the style of chicken fried steak, this recipe is perfect for those cooler fall nights.
First things first!
Why is it called Chicken Fried Chicken?
The name comes from the restaurant menu item chicken fried steak. That is a thinly pounded round steak or cube steak that is cooked like fried chicken. Calling this chicken fried chicken is confusing but many restaurants call it this too.
Chicken fried chicken is a boneless, skinless chicken breast that has been pounded so it is even, prepared in the same manner as chicken fried steak. It is important the chicken breast is proportionally flat so that it cooks evenly. The last thing you want is a partially done piece of chicken.
Now that that’s out of the way, on to this delicious recipe. Usually, this dish is served with country gravy. I decided to add a fall spin to it with the addition of apple cider.
Now, when I mentioned to a friend I was making an apple cider gravy she thought it would be too sweet. No one in my family thought it was overly sweet. You can taste the cider but it is subtle, not overpowering.
One important thing I must tell you. Don’t skimp on the 15 minutes wait time once you dredge the chicken. Allow it to rest on a cooling rack over a sheet pan as you heat your skillet.
Why you ask? First, a 15-minute rest at room temperature will allow the chicken to cook more evenly. When you flatten the chicken to the same thickness and bring it to room temperature, there are no cold pockets that would take longer to cook.
Also, when you let the dredged chicken rest, magic happens. Some of the flour will absorb into the chicken, but not all. It still gets a crispy layer when fried.
As you take your chicken out of the frying pan, place it on a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet. To keep it warm, place in a warm oven, no more than 200°F, and for no longer than 15 minutes or the chicken will begin to dry out. Do this while you make the apple cider gravy.
Tips to Make Perfect Gravy
- Don’t use cold liquid. Make sure your liquid is room temperature. Measure out the apple cider and milk and leave it on the counter while you fry the chicken.
- When making the roux, the flour and butter mixture, make sure you cook the flour adequately. Your roux should become a nice golden color, you don’t want it to be as brown as it would be for a gumbo. If you don’t cook the flour long enough, you will taste it in your gravy.
- As you add the liquids to your roux, whisk continually. If you don’t you’ll get lumpy gravy. You want a beautifully smooth gravy. Whisk, whisk, whisk.
- Taste as you season. Remember, you can always add more but can never take away!
This recipe is perfect for fall. It’s comfort food for a cooler night, a dish the entire family will love yet perfect for entertaining.
If you want more recipes using chicken, have a look at this list.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly pounded
- 4 cups oil, for frying
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs
Apple Cider Gravy
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons reserved flour mixture from Chicken-Fried Steak
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup apple cider
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Season chicken with salt and pepper.
- Fill a 12-inch cast-iron skillet halfway with oil, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350˚.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and pepper. Reserve 3 tablespoons flour mixture for Apple Cider Gravy. In a medium shallow bowl, whisk eggs.
- Dredge each steak into the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dredge in egg, shaking off excess, and dredge again in flour mixture. Let steaks sit in flour mixture for 15 minutes.
- Working in batches, fry chicken until golden brown, turning once, for 3 minutes, or until a food thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the chicken registers 165˚. Let drain on a wire rack for 2 minutes.
- Serve with Apple Cider Gravy. Garnish with black pepper, if desired.
- Make Apple Cider Gravy: In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, cook butter over medium heat until bubbling, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture, and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk, apple cider, pepper, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently until thickened and bubbly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Serve immediately
- To serve place one chicken breast on a plate and ladle gravy over the top.