Some things naturally go together; peanut butter and bananas, wine and cheese, chocolate and raspberry. But I sometimes pair dishes that you wouldn’t automatically consider. A recent example when friends were coming over, southern fried chicken and Kir Royale.

I do a lot of my ‘southern frying’ in a hot oven which totally eliminates splatter and mess. (For anybody who is unfamiliar with southern fried food, it’s a little piece of crispy, juicy heaven. You basically need three bowls for dipping your items in a particular order: dry, wet, dry. I generally just use plain flour seasoned with whatever I like such as salt and pepper as the first dip bowl. The second can be beaten egg whites, yogurt, or a little milk. The third is where you get creative. Right now I’m loving Japanese panko crumbs, but use what you like from seasoned bread crumbs to a flour mixture. Dip whatever you intend to fry; chicken, steak, pork chops,squash; into your bowls in the order of dry/wet/dry and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet with raised edges. Place into a hot oven, about 425 Fahrenheit and let it work its own magic. The amount of time required will vary with whatever you are cooking, but you want it to be crispy while not over done.

On this occasion, I’ve made heavily peppered chicken bites, so I’ll serve them with a cool, creamy dipping sauce. And my beverage of choice: Kir Royale, the French aperitif that mixes cassis with champagne. As a rule of thumb, I pour about two fingers of cassis in the glass and finish filling it with the champagne, which turns it a lovely pink color. The champagne makes it ‘royale’. Regular kir replaces the champagne with sauvignon blanc or any dry white wine, as the creme de cassis is like a syrup. Sometimes I cut the sweetness a little more with a splash of dry vermouth. I’ve been told by a friend who has an apartment in Paris, that Parisians often use black currant juice instead of cassis, which is a black currant liqueur. It’s a little like pomegranate juice, which my husband prefers. Try the variations and see which you like best. And don’t be afraid to pair unusual items. Who would have thought that fried chicken and Kir Royale would be so delicious together!

Southern Fried Chicken and Kir Royale

Southern Fried Chicken and Kir Royale

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