I saw that lady on TikTok make mashed potatoes out of pringles a while back and its so nasty looking but also I was like HMMMMMM. Cool ranch Doritos are the best chips, and grits are the mashed potatoes of corn, so now you know how my brain works. I mixed crunched up chips with coarse cornmeal and used it as the base for the grits as well as the dredge for the fried chicken. I was also inspired by the method of making Nashville chicken, where you use the frying oil to quickly blanch some spices as the sauce, but instead of mostly cayenne, I used berbere spice to add some complex and bitter contrast to the salty Dorito infused dish.
Coarse cornmeal and crushed Doritos
And now it’s grits!
The chicken is brined in some pickle juice for a few hours, then dredged in the cornmeal.
Drizzled with the berbere oil
So much cool ranch action on one plate. The cornmeal coating is crunchy and thick and definitely different than a traditional flour coating. I topped this with a little extra of the berbere drizzle which was super spicy too and went so well with everything.
Cool Ranch Chicken and Grits
Chicken and marinade
- 4 chicken thighs
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup pickle juice
- salt and pepper
- 4 cups coarse cornmeal
- 2 cups crushed chips
- 4 tablespoons butter split in half
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cornmeal dorito mixture
- the rest of the cornmeal mixture
- oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon berbere spice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- scallions for garnish
- Mix the chicken with the pickle juice, egg, salt and pepper. Cover and set aside in the fridge for a few hours
- Mix the crushed chips with the cornmeal and mash it up until it is all one texture.
- Bring half the butter, along with the stock and milk to a simmer. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the cornmeal mixture. Turn to low and continue to simmer and stir for about a half hour.
- Meanwhile, bring the oil to 350 in a heavy cast iron pot. One by one take the chicken out of the marinade and dredge it in the cornmeal mixture. Fry about 3-5 minutes per side to brown and cook through.
- when the chicken is just about done, add the berbere to a bowl with the garlic powder and some salt and pepper. Take a few spoonfuls of the hot frying liquid and add them to the bowl with the spices. Stir to combine and add more oil if needed to form a thin sauce.
- Remove the chicken from the oil to a cooling rack and drizzle on the spiced oil.
- Add the remaining butter to the grits and stir well. If it seems to thick you can add a little milk.
- Serve the grits first, then top with the chicken. Add some hot sauce, chili flakes, and scallions as desired.