Grain-Free Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Gravy

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Grain-Free Fried Chicken, Quirky Cooking
Grain-Free Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Gravy (GAPS version)
Photo by Cook Republic

My mum makes the best southern fried chicken with buttermilk gravy I’ve ever tasted. It takes comfort food to a whole new level! She often makes it for family gatherings and we pile our plates with crispy, tender chicken and creamy mashed potatoes, smother it all in buttermilk gravy made with the drippings and crispy bits from the pan, and add plenty of colourful veggies.

When our family had to go gluten free and dairy free due to food intolerances, I tweaked the recipe and still managed to make a pretty good version of mum’s – but once we went onto the GAPS Protocol* we missed out on fried chicken for a couple of years… Until I decided enough was enough, time to make a GAPS/Paleo version! So I developed this almond meal and coconut flour recipe, which we love. I shallow fry it in olive oil, then finish it off in the oven so that the coating doesn’t burn. The gravy is made with the buttermilk (dairy free or dairy version) leftover from soaking the chicken.

For those who can have buckwheat, you may want to try the buckwheat flour recipe (below the GAPS one) as it’s a bit simpler (just frypan, no oven baking), and just as yummy!

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does. 🙂

*Note: For info about the GAPS protocol, why we ate this way for 2 years, and how it helped us to improve our gut health and heal our food intolerances, read these articles:

What is GAPS?

Isaac’s Story, and the Quirky Cooking for Gut Health Program

Where to Start with GAPS

Grain-Free Fried Chicken – GAPS Version

Grain-Free Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Gravy (GAPS Version)
Photo by Cook Republic
Grain-Free Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Gravy (GAPS Version)
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Chicken
  1. 600ml coconut/almond milk, or preferred milk
  2. 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  3. 1 large free range chicken, cut into pieces, or 2kg chicken pieces
  4. 1 cup almond meal, or pepita meal for nut free
  5. 1 cup coconut flour
  6. 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
  7. 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  8. 1 tsp dried oregano
  9. Extra virgin olive oil for frying*
Gravy
  1. 3 Tbsp bacon fat or ghee
  2. 3 Tbsp flour mixture (left over from coating chicken)
  3. leftover buttermilk from soaking chicken
  4. 2 cups coconut/almond milk, or preferred milk**
  5. salt and pepper to taste
Chicken Method
  1. Mix together milk and vinegar or lemon juice in a large bowl. The milk will slightly curdle. Add chicken pieces, mix through, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight). This softens the meat.
  2. Mix together almond meal, coconut flour, salt, smoked paprika and oregano in a large bowl, using a wire whisk.
  3. Remove chicken pieces one at a time from ‘buttermilk’ and coat well in flour mixture, pressing flour firmly into the chicken so it sticks on well. Lay chicken pieces on a tray. Place into fridge and chill for 30 mins to firm coating.
  4. Preheat oven to 180C.
  5. Pour some olive oil into a large frying pan to about 1cm deep. Heat over medium heat, then add chicken pieces in a single layer. Reduce heat a little, and cook chicken until brown all over, approx. 5 mins per side, taking care not to burn as the almond/coconut flour coating cooks a lot quicker than regular flour. If you don't have a large frying pan, you may need to cook the chicken in a couple of batches, scraping out crumbs from pan in between and adding more oil between batches as needed. I can fit the whole batch in my 35cm Solidteknics AUS-ion skillet.
  6. Once chicken is golden brown, remove from frying pan with tongs and place into a large baking dish or baking tray in a single layer. The chicken won't be cooked through yet, it will finish cooking in the oven.
  7. Place into preheated oven, and cook for 30 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the meaty part of chicken shows juices are clear.
Gravy Method
  1. While chicken finishes cooking in the oven, make the gravy. Remove oil to a bowl to be disposed of later, and wipe out the frying pan with kitchen towels. Add fat or ghee and heat over medium temp.
  2. Add 3 Tbsp of the leftover flour mixture from coating the chicken, and stir with a wooden spoon or whisk, cooking until mixture is bubbling and thickened.
  3. Add the leftover buttermilk from soaking the chicken, along with 1 cup of the coconut/almond milk. Stir or whisk to remove any lumps, and simmer until thickened, stirring now and then. Add more milk if gravy gets too thick and continue to whisk until done.
  4. Once gravy is thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serving
  1. Serve chicken with Cauliflower & Leek Mash or mashed potatoes, vegetables, and the buttermilk gravy. Chicken is also delicious cold the next day for lunchboxes!
Storage
  1. Store chicken and gravy separately in fridge for up to 2 days. Not suitable for freezing as it will dry out.
Tips
  1. Oil for frying: If you’re wondering why I don’t use coconut oil for frying, it’s because it has a smoke point of only 170C, and when you shallow fry the oil will reach approx 190-210C. I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil as it has a smoke point of 206C, and has higher oxidative stability. Read THIS STUDY for more info.
  2. To prepare ahead: Place chicken in milk to soak overnight. Next morning coat chicken in flour mixture, cover and place in fridge. Cook in the evening.
Variations
  1. Coconut free: Replace coconut flour with banana flour or cassava flour, and replace coconut milk with milk of choice.
  2. Milks: You can use whichever milks you prefer, but my favourite dairy free options are coconut/almond or cashew milk as they work best for the gravy because the flavour is mild, and they thicken well. Other milks may need more time to simmer and reduce. If you are ok with dairy, you can use dairy buttermilk in place of the coconut/almond milk and vinegar/lemon juice. You will need some plain milk to add to the gravy as well.
Quirky Cooking https://www.quirkycooking.com.au/

Grain-Free Fried Chicken – Buckwheat Version

Grain Free Fried Chicken, Quirky Cooking
Grain-Free Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Gravy (Buckwheat Version)
Grain-Free Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Gravy (Buckwheat Version)
Write a review
Print
Chicken
  1. 600ml coconut/almond milk, or preferred milk
  2. 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  3. 1 large free range chicken, cut into pieces, or 2kg chicken pieces
  4. 2 cups buckwheat flour
  5. 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
  6. 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  7. 1 tsp dried oregano
  8. Extra virgin olive oil for frying*
Gravy
  1. 3 Tbsp bacon fat or ghee
  2. leftover flour mixture from coating chicken
  3. leftover ‘buttermilk’ from soaking chicken
  4. 2 cups coconut/almond milk, or preferred milk**
  5. salt and pepper to taste
Chicken Method
  1. Mix together milk and vinegar or lemon juice in a large bowl. The milk should slightly curdle to make a dairy free 'buttermilk'. Add chicken pieces, cover, mix through, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight). This softens the meat.
  2. Mix together buckwheat flour, salt, smoked paprika and oregano in a large bowl, using a wire whisk.
  3. Remove chicken pieces one at a time from ‘buttermilk’ and coat well in flour mixture, pressing flour firmly into the chicken so it sticks on well.
  4. Pour some olive oil into a large frying pan to about 1cm deep. Heat over medium heat, then add chicken pieces in a single layer. Reduce heat to med-low or until oil is bubbling gently. Cook until brown all over, approx. 15 mins per side, or until a skewer inserted into the meaty part of chicken shows juices are clear. You may need to cook the chicken in a couple of batches if it doesn't all fit in the pan, scraping out crumbs from pan in between batches and adding more oil if needed. I can fit the whole batch in my 35cm Solidteknics AUS-ion skillet.
  5. Remove chicken from frying pan and place into a large baking dish or tray in a single layer. Place into oven and turn oven on to 100C to keep chicken warm while you make gravy.
Gravy Method
  1. Tip the oil out of the frying pan into a bowl and set aside to discard later. (Leave the 'bits' in the pan from cooking the chicken.)
  2. Add the ghee or bacon fat to the pan with the leftover flour mixture, and cook over med heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or whisk, until mixture is bubbling and thickened.
  3. Add the leftover milk from soaking the chicken, along with 1 cup of the coconut/almond milk. Stir or whisk to remove any lumps, and simmer until thickened, stirring now and then. Add some more milk if needed.
  4. Once gravy is thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serving
  1. Serve chicken with Cauliflower & Leek Mash or mashed potatoes, vegetables, and the buttermilk gravy. The chicken is also delicious cold the next day for lunchboxes!
Storage
  1. Store chicken and gravy separately in fridge for up to 2 days. Not suitable for freezing as it will dry out.
Tips
  1. Oil for frying: If you’re wondering why I don’t use coconut oil for frying, it’s because it has a smoke point of only 170C, and when you shallow fry the oil will reach approx 190-210C. I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil as it has a smoke point of 206C, and has higher oxidative stability. Read THIS STUDY for more info.
  2. To prepare ahead: Place chicken in milk to soak overnight. Next morning coat chicken in flour mixture, cover and place in fridge. Cook in the evening.
Variations
  1. Coconut free: Replace coconut flour with banana flour or cassava flour, and replace coconut milk with milk of choice.
  2. Milks: You can use whichever milks you prefer, but my favourite dairy free options are coconut/almond or cashew milk as they work best for the gravy because the flavour is mild, and they thicken well. Other milks may need more time to simmer and reduce. If you are ok with dairy, you can use dairy buttermilk in place of the coconut/almond milk and vinegar/lemon juice. You will need some plain milk to add to the gravy as well.
Quirky Cooking https://www.quirkycooking.com.au/
Grain Free Fried Chicken, Quirky Cooking
Grain Free Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Gravy (Buckwheat Version)

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