Tavern at Bobby, Nashville, TN
Pimento cheese stuffed fried chicken
At Tavern, Chef Jeff Axline puts his own spin on two classic Southern dishes, pimento cheese and fried chicken. A menu standout, Jeff was inspired by his favorite dish his mom used to make growing up — fried chicken: “My mother’s version of fried chicken is the best I’ve ever had (although, now I’m not sure if it’s because it was my first impression of fried chicken or because it was hers — maybe it’s both!) As a kid, I remember her pulling out the Dutch oven and the delicious smell filling up the whole house! She’d serve the chicken with corn, mashed potatoes and white cream gravy — heaven on Earth!”
- 4 Chicken Breasts
- 3 cups buttermilk
- ½ package of ranch dressing dry mix (Hidden Valley)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated Tillamook cheddar
- ½ cup grated pepper jack cheese
- 4 oz softened cream cheese (a quick spin in the microwave works if you are in a hurry)
- ¼ cup canned roasted red peppers (Drained of liquid, and pulsed in blender or finely chopped by hand)
- ½ medium yellow onion (peeled and grated on cheese grater or micro plane over a bowl to reserve the juice)
- ¾ cups Duke’s Mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place buttermilk in bowl and add ranch dressing mix, whisk till incorporated. In another bowl, add flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl place softened cream cheese and lightly whisk, add Mayo and incorporate the cream cheese and mayo. There should only be a small number of tiny lumps. Add the grated cheeses and then stir in red peppers and onion. After all ingredients are incorporated evenly, add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and prepare the chicken for stuffing.
- On the larger side of the chicken breasts make an incision with a pairing knife slicing a small pocket in the middle of the breast halfway down. Set chicken aside. Next, fill a plastic piping bag with the pimento cheese, cut the tip off of the piping bag and fill each breast with pimento cheese being sure there is a quarter inch of space between the cheese and the outside of the breast.
- Place chicken breast in the flour mixture one at a time and evenly coat with flour. Place breast in buttermilk and coat with buttermilk evenly coating it. Place breast back into flour and coat evenly again. Place coated breast on a paper towel lined sheet pan. Repeat process until all breasts are coated and ready to fry. I like to lightly freeze the breasts for a couple of hours.
- Now its time to deep fry the chicken. I recommend a cast iron Dutch oven, but a fry daddy will work just fine. The most important thing with this is that it is fried at 325 degrees and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees. We serve it as a sandwich, but this can be served with mashed potatoes, grits or braised greens.