Homemade Double Down
Essentially a gussied-up version of chicken Cordon Bleu, we give KFC's bun-less Double Down chicken sandwich a refined makeover.
Yield: makes 4 Double Down sandwiches
For the Brined and Fried Chicken
- 12 cups water
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄2 cup honey
- 8 bay leafs
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 15 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns, plus 1 tsp. freshly ground
- 1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, split
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 3 tbsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. cayenne
- 2 tsp. dried sage
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- 2 tsp. marjoram
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 6 cups peanut oil, for frying
For the Mustard Sauce (Sauce Moutarde) and Serving
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1⁄3 cup hot water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12 thin slices Jamon Iberico de Bellota (or another dry-cured ham)
- 1 wedge Brie cheese, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- Make the brine: Combine water, 1⁄2 cup salt, honey, bay leaves, fresh herbs, garlic, whole peppercorns, and lemon zest and juice in a large pot, bring to a boil for one minute. Remove from heat and allow the brine cool completely, refrigerate until cold. Rinse chicken breasts and slice in half lengthwise, creating cutlets. Add the chicken to brine, making sure that the meat is submerged; refrigerate 6–12 hours.
- Fry the chicken: Remove chicken from the brine; drain and pat dry. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Mix flour, dried herbs and spices, 2 tsp. salt, and ground black pepper in a large bowl; pour buttermilk in another bowl. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip the chicken into the spiced flour mixture, coating both sides thoroughly. Dip the coated chicken into the buttermilk, and then back into the flour. Place the chicken on the parchment-lined baking sheets, let stand for one hour.
- Heat the peanut oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven until it reaches 330°. Working in batches, fry the breasts until fully cooked and dark golden brown, about five minutes. Transfer to paper towels to rest.
- Make the sauce: Heat the mustard in a small pot over very low heat. Add the butter a little at a time, stirring constantly; when all the butter is incorporated, add cornstarch and water and stir until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
- Build the sandwich: Place one piece of chicken on a serving plate. Top the chicken with a slice of brie and three slices of ham. Top with a second piece of fried chicken. Serve immediately with the sauce on the side.