Stranger Things returns this 4th of July, providing a double-whammy reason to fry up a batch of fried chicken, whip up a mess of biscuits, and mash up a friggin ton of potatoes. Celebrate our nation's independence day (and Netflix's most celebrated series) the way it was intended: with some deeply unhealthy food.

 

Ingredients

Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Babish Style)

  • 1 whole chicken

  • 16 oz of buttermilk

  • 12 herbs and spices

    • ⅔ tsp salt

    • ½ tsp thyme

    • ½ tsp basil

    • ⅓ tsp oregano

    • 1 tsp celery salt

    • 1 tsp black pepper

    • 1 tsp dried mustard

    • 4 tsp paprika

    • 2 tsp garlic salt

    • 1 tsp ground ginger

    • 3 tsp white pepper

    • ¾ tsp MSG

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • ½ cup of corn starch

  • Canola and Peanut oil, for frying

Chicken Stock

  • Chicken wings and spine pieces

  • Vegetable oil

  • Onion

  • Carrots

  • Celery

  • Fresh thyme

  • Halved head of garlic

  • 8 cups cold water

Creamy Mashed Potatoes & Homemade Gravy

  • Gravy

    • 6 tbsps butter

    • ⅓ cup all purpose flour

    • Soy sauce

    • 3 cups chicken stock

  • Mashed potatoes

    • 4 lbs russet potatoes

    • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

    • 2 cups warm milk

    • Kosher salt

    • White pepper

Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 13 ½ ounces all purpose flour

  • 2 Tbsp sugar

  • 4 tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • ½ tsp kosher salt

  • 2 sticks frozen butter

  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk

Method

Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Babish Style)

  1. Break down chicken into 8 pieces. Save wing and spine pieces for making chicken stock.

  2. Into a large food-safe bucket, add 16 oz of buttermilk and 12 herbs and spices along with an extra tablespoon of kosher salt and chicken pieces.

  3. Press chicken down into the buttermilk brine and give it a good mix until they are evenly coated and keep the bucket in the fridge for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours. Take it out once or twice during its marinade time to give it good stir.

  4. In a wide casserole dish, add 12 herbs and spices, 2 cups of all purpose flour and half cup of corn starch, and whisk together. 

  5. Add a few tablespoons of marinade to the dredge, and mix it up with your fingers or a fork until creating tiny little bits of breading that are going to stick to the chicken.

  6. Bread all of the chicken at once and let those sit there for about 10 minutes.

  7. Heat canola and peanut oils to 400°F, frying for 6-9 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Dark meat should reach 175°F and white meat should register 165°F. Place on a wire rack and keep in a low temperature oven until all of the chicken has finished frying.

  8. Optional but you really should: Scoop up the brown, sloppy gold off the bottom of the pot and add it to the gravy.

Homemade chicken stock

  1. Add chicken bones and vegetables to a large saucepan with oil. Brown all of the pieces.

  2. Once the chicken has some color on it, deglaze the pot with 8 cups of cold water.

  3. Bring the whole thing to simmer lower heat until it reaches a bare simmer, and keep it there for about 4 hours.

Gravy for Mashed Potatoes

  1. In a small saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter until foaming and add ⅓ cup all purpose flour, and whisk to cook for an additional minute.

  2. Slowly stream in 3 cups chicken stock, and whisk constantly to prevent clumping.

  3. Add a good glug of soy sauce.

  4. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until it gets nice and thick. Taste for seasoning.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

  1. Peel 4 pounds of russet potatoes and chop into 1 inch cubes. Place into a pot of cold water.

  2. Bring the pot to a boil. Once a boil is reached, cook for 12-16 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

  3. Rinse the potatoes with hot tap water.

  4. Place a few chunks of potato in a potato ricer and press them through. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Add 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature (cut into 1 inch pieces) 2 cups of warm milk, some kosher salt and white pepper.

  5. Mix together.

Buttermilk Biscuits

  1. Start by combining 13 ½ ounces all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 4 teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt in a bowl. Whisk with a fork until homogeneous.

  2. By using the slightly larger holes on a cheese grater, grate 2 sticks of frozen butter.

  3. Add butter to the flour mixture, and mix around until all the pieces are coated.

  4. Add 1 ¼ cups buttermilk to the mixture and give it a good stir.

  5. Remove the mixture from the bowl and continue to try to coax together into a sort of rectangle. Using a generously floured rolling pin, roll it out to a 16 by 9 inch rectangle and fold in thirds like a letter.  Watch the episode above if you need help!

  6. Repeat this process five times.

  7. Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.

  8. Roll the dough out to a roughly 9x9 square-ish shape, and trim off the edges using a very sharp knife that was dusted in flour.

  9. Cut cleanly into 9 square biscuits.

  10. Place back on the parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with butter.

  11. Bake the biscuits at 400°F for 20-25 minutes.

  12. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before consumption.