In 1685, a distressed merchant ship paid for repairs in Charleston with a small quantity of rice seed from Madagascar.
Dr. Henry Woodward planted the seed in South Carolina, beginning the state’s 200-year history as the leading rice producer in the United States.
It does not get more homey than breaded cutlets fried golden brown and served with a savory pan gravy. Crispy Chicken with Herbed Carolina Gold Rice & Scratch Pan Gravy is a forkful of comfort.
Crispy Chicken with Herbed Carolina Gold Rice & Scratch Pan Gravy may not stand out as a fancy dish. Alone, each element of this meal is conventional. Collectively though, chicken and rice plated together, regardless of the method of preparation, represent the core of Southern American cooking. Charleston, South Carolina was built on cotton, indigo, and rice. And while we have all learned in our history books that cotton was king, nothing shaped Charleston's wealth quite like the effects of rice growing.
Carolina Gold Rice, still grown in Carolina today, cannot help but wordlessly retell the squalid history involving slaves on the very backs of whom, early Charleston, South Carolina rice plantations would prosper. And it is said that without rice, the City of Charleston as we know it today, would simply not exist...
In addition to a crispy panko coating, the chicken cutlets are flavored with Italian herb seasonings and smoked paprika. For my dish, I used the Bourbon smoked paprika. The scant addition of this spice is sweet, a little smoky, and really, really delicious. Pantry necessaries...click images for pricing.
When the wind blows, the tiny grains of rice, hanging low on their tired blades, shiver and shake. The sound of tens of millions of dried husks vibrating all at once is more startling than a southbound train.
Rice made Charleston. The rice seed is representative of Charleston, so much so, that the pinnacle gift of respect and welcoming someone is to gift to them sterling rice beads or a sterling rice spoon. These grains of sterling rice in the form of a wearable piece of art are as popular here in Charleston as a set of fine pearls.
The Charleston Rice Spoon has been a tradition in the South since the first settlers arrived in the Lowcountry. Because rice was a major crop in the Lowcountry, the long-handled spoon was used for serving rice, especially at the Sunday 2 o'clock dinner. Today, the rice spoon is a valued possession of nearly every South Carolina family and makes an excellent traditional wedding present.
Manufactured by Godinger in the United States. Click the images for pricing or to visit The Historic Charleston Foundation.
“Carolina Gold” is only truly authentic when it is grown in the Carolinas.
During the Colonial Period, coastal South Carolina was the largest producer of rice in all of America. Charleston's local chef's make use of this rich Colonial history, using the same ingredients and methods for their cornerstone dishes. I order a unique rice dish off a menu at a downtown restaurant whenever the opportunity presents itself. I find the Carolina Gold rice to be a smooth-textured and buttery flavor. It is pleasing when combined with minimal and simple ingredients. If the chefs are using locally sourced rice like the Gold, so do I. The dishes they create are not new, rather old. As in very, very old.
There are only a few growers who can label theirs as "Carolina Gold," as only grains grown here in Carolina may be labeled authentic Gold rice. Not aware we grew this in the U.S? Its flavor and grain is unlike anything else. There is rice, and then there is Carolina grown Gold.
Pantry necessaries for EVERY American kitchen...click image for pricing.
This dish gets a fast start in a hot cast iron skillet, then moves to a baking sheet in the oven to finish. The bits remaining in the skillet are where the flavor is. I use these bits to work my gravy. I am always sure to use homemade chicken stock for the MOST FLAVORFUL gravy. The Carolina Gold will be both fragrant and flavored with softened salted sweet cream butter and fresh chopped herbs from my garden.
Cookbooks; methods and recipes of the long ago, revised for the modern kitchen and palate. Click images for pricing.
The quintessential Lowcountry dish, pilau, pronounced “per-loo” in Gullah culture, is a traditionally steamed rice dish. It is served most often with meat, shellfish, or vegetables in a seasoned broth. Charleston chef's are known to pull inspiration from both traditional European cooking and from the culinary traditions of the Lowcountry. Many have revised pilau to meet the tastes of modern diners. Any form of chicken and rice, hence my Crispy Chicken with Herbed Carolina Gold Rice & Scratch Pan Gravy, is elevated by using fresh chicken, and most certainly Carolina Gold rice. Herein, I have swapped the broth for a rich scratch pan gravy.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
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- cast iron skillet
- rimmed baking sheet
- wire whisk
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Ingredients for the Crispy Chicken
- 6 6 ounce each boneless, skinless chicken breasts ** Alternate Method: See Step 1 below; use only 3 chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 cups panko I am using Kikkoman
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika I am using Bourbon Smoked Paprika
- 3 tablespoons salted sweet cream butter
- 3 tablespoons quality olive oil I am using Thea
Ingredients for the Herbed Carolina Gold Rice
- 4 cups hot, cooked Carolina Gold rice or other short-grain white rice I am using Charleston Gold by Carolina Plantation
- 2 tablespoons salted sweet cream butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Ingredients for The Scratch Pan Gravy
- 1/4 cup very soft, but not quite melted salted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups homemade chicken stock or full-fat chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Prepare the Chicken
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, and flatten to about 3/4-inch thickness, using a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. **Alternate Method: using only 3 chicken breasts, place your hand atop a breast and using a very sharp kitchen knife, carefully cut each in half lengthwise, cutting as slowly and evenly as possible.
- Dip chicken, 1 piece at a time, in egg mixture, shaking off excess; dredge in panko mixture, coating well and pressing to adhere.
- Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium. Cook 3 chicken breasts in skillet until golden, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining butter, oil, and chicken. Bake in preheated oven until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Begin the Pan Gravy
- Using the same cast iron skillet as the chicken breasts, whisk together 1/4 cup melted salted butter and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour in a large skillet. Cook over medium, whisking constantly, until bubbly, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in 2 cups homemade chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
- Cook, whisking often, just until mixture comes to a boil and is smooth and thick, 2 to 5 minutes. (If mixture is too thick, stir in up to 1/2 cup more broth, 1/4 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.)
For the Herbed Rice
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir until butter is melted. Serve with chicken and scratch pan gravy.
To Plate This Dish
- Mound 2 heaping (serving) spoonfuls of the herbed rice in the center of each plate. Using tongs, transfer 1 cutlet to each plate, standing the cutlet up on the rice at an angle. Top with a small amount of the gravy. Garnish with additional chopped herbs or handfuls of fresh thyme. Be sure to have the remaining gravy on the table for passing.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.