If you’re anything like me, the cold months bring out intense cravings for comfort food. This past week we’ve started to feel some of that winter chill, so comfort food is now on my mind!
Comfort food gives me that nostalgic, relaxing feeling of being at home and being cared for (not to mention the yummy, filling feeling of eating high carb delicious food). What could be better?
My comfort foods are creamy twice baked potatoes, fried chicken, meatloaf, cornbread, and tuna helper. When I had to go gluten-free a few years back, some of these became pretty tricky to prepare.
Twice baked potatoes didn’t present a problem, and neither did meatloaf. Tuna helper was easily fixed after finding Mrs. Leepers Creamy Tuna (take note: this product has changed my life!). I gave up on fried chicken at first, feeling like it would never be possible to re-create the crispiness. And after much frustration with gluten-free flours, I stopped baking entirely, which meant an end to cornbread.
Cornbread seems like it would be easy (cornmeal, right?), but great cornbread recipes include all-purpose flour as well. After a lot of experimenting I found recipes for both that have stuck with me. Fried chicken and cornbread have now become our regular Sunday night dinner, and we’re showing no signs of getting sick of it!
Here are the two recipes we use every week…
Gluten-Free Crispy Fried Chicken
I’ve found after trying many variations of fried chicken that the recommended timing is particularly important. I always try to plan ahead and marinate my chicken overnight, and also let it sit for around 30 minutes after the first coating of flour. Using buttermilk never hurts to up the yummy factor!
- 1 chicken, approx 4 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
- 3 Tbsp salt or seasoned salt (I use Adobo)
- 5 cups water
- 1 egg
- 1 cup water OR milk OR buttermilk
- 2 cups gluten-free seasoned flour (I use Domata Gluten-Free Seasoned Flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Enough shortening/suet/oil to come up about ¾ inch in a large skillet (roughly 4 cups)
- Mix the seasoned salt/Adobo with the water. Pour over chicken and refrigerate to marinate overnight (alternatively, you can put a small amount of the marinade in a vacuum bag, seal it and let it sit for 5 minutes but it’s definitely better to let it sit overnight to marinate).
- Mix egg, water/milk/buttermilk in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix seasoned flour and baking powder.
- Dip chicken pieces into flour and let them rest on a cookie sheet for a couple of minutes.
- Dip floured chicken into the egg mixture one a time, then into the flour mixture again, making sure to coat each piece.
- Shake off excess flour and put back on the cookie sheet. Let rest for at least 10 minutes, even better for half an hour.
- Heat oil to 350 degrees.
- Fry 4 pieces at a time, for about 15 minutes, turning when the first half is a deep golden brown.
- Remove to a rack placed over a cookie sheet and place in a warm oven while you fry the rest of the chicken. Enjoy!
*This recipe was originally published by Better Batter. It’s the best I’ve found after much experimentation. Thanks Naomi!
Gluten-Free Cast Iron Cornbread
Most cornbread recipes contain around a cup of all-purpose flour, and while there are plenty of gluten-free substitutions, nothing I tried could come close to mimicking the taste I was used to. Then a couple of years ago, this recipe was posted on Local Milk Blog, and I instantly fell in love. I had never made cornbread in a cast iron skillet before and this step changed everything!
Combined with the fact that this recipe uses minimal wheat flour (to begin with) made it a huge success for me. I’ve found that white rice flour is the best substitution, and I don’t recommend substituting anything else if you want to really get that authentic, southern comfort food flavor. The bacon grease is crucial, as is warming the grease in the cast iron skillet to begin. You can thank me later!
- 1 ¼ cup cornmeal (I use coarsely ground)**
- 3 Tbsp white rice flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 3 Tbsp bacon grease (preferred), vegetable oil or shortening
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ tsp baking soda, dissolved in a little water
- bacon grease for greasing the pan
**Make sure cornmeal is labeled gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination!
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Grease a cast iron skillet with bacon grease and place it in the oven while it heats.
- Mix the first 4 ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the fat with your fingers or two knives, mixing well until you have a sandy texture.
- Combine the eggs and the buttermilk, add to the dry ingredients and mix to combine well. Add the baking soda and stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the hot skillet and bake for 20 minutes.
- Invert onto a plate. It’s nice to serve the browned, crispy side up!
Feel free to share your favorite comfort food recipes in the comments below. It’s starting to get cold out there!