Boneless Fried Chicken with Carolina Shrimp Bog

Boneless Fried Chicken:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (8 thighs total)
1/2 cup potato starch (cassava flour, tapioca starch, or arrowroot starch okay)
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of dried thyme
4 eggs, beaten
2 large (~3oz) bags of pork rinds (about 3 cups crushed)
1/2 cup lard, avocado oil, or coconut oil, for frying

Carolina Shrimp Bog:
1 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage (andouille preferred)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup long-grain white rice (Carolina Gold rice preferred)
4 cups chicken broth or shellfish stock
1/2 tsp black pepper, more to taste
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 lb raw shrimp
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, more to taste
salt to taste
chopped parsley to garnish

1. Prepare the chicken for frying. Pat the chicken thighs dry then set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the potato starch, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, sage, basil, ginger, cloves, and thyme. In another wide, shallow bowl, add the beaten eggs. Crush the pork rinds using a food processor or by transferring them to a re-sealable plastic bag and rolling them with a rolling pin, then transfer them to a third wide, shallow bowl. Place the lard in a large skillet then keep warm over low heat and preheat your oven to 170F as you start the Shrimp Bog.

2. Start the Carolina Shrimp Bog. Warm the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, then add the sausage, and sauté until very crisp, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. To economize my time, I prepared and chopped my veggies as the sausage sautéed. Once the sausage is cooked, scoop it out with a slotted spoon and set aside; you should have a good 2-3 tbsp of cooking fat left in the dutch oven. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté until starting to soften, about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and bay leaf. Sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds, then add the rice; stir to coat, then add the broth, black pepper, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer then cover and reduce heat to low; gently simmer for 18 minutes without removing the lid or stirring. As it cooks, start frying the chicken.

3. Fry the chicken. Increase the skillet heat to medium. To bread the chicken, dust a thigh in the potato starch mixture, then dredge in the eggs, then coat with the crushed pork rinds and transfer to the skillet. Repeat this process until you have filled the skillet (3-4 thighs should do it). Pan-fry the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side, turning every 2 minutes. Place the cooked chicken on a plate lined with paper towels, then transfer to the oven to keep warm as you prepare your next batch(es).

4. Finish the Carolina Shrimp Bog. Remove the lid and stir in the shrimp and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to sit (covered) for 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauté to taste, then add parsley to garnish and serve with the fried chicken.

** Note that I didn’t include salt in the potato starch mixture, because most pork rinds are already salted, and there’s nothing worse than over-salting food. I recommend you taste your first batch of fried chicken to determine if you need to add a bit of salt to the potato starch mixture (and you can always sprinkle a bit of salt on that first batch if it needs a bit more flavor).

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