‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten’s Favorite Chicken Sandwiches Are the Perfect Anytime Meal

Ina Garten has been the star of Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa since 2003. The East Hampton-based chef has brought countless easy recipes to fans not only through her cooking show but also through her dozen cookbooks.

Garten loves turning classic meals into everyday recipes, and her easy fried chicken sandwiches are no exception.

Ina Garten and Seth Meyers in February 2019
Ina Garten and Seth Meyers in February 2019 | Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ina Garten loves to simplify cooking for her viewers

Ever since Garten launched her cooking show nearly 20 years ago, she’s been showing fans the easiest methods for cooking classic dishes. Even before that, Garten was simplifying meals for readers of her popular cookbooks. These days, she loves reminding fans that store bought ingredients are fine (most of the time) and that there is almost never a bad time for a cocktail.

Garten’s biggest tricks of the trade include always having high-quality pasta sauce on hand, such as Rao’s — it saves her from making her own all the time. Plus, certain ingredients, such as puff pastry, are much easier to purchase than to make. Garten has even simplified the process of creating difficult dishes such as eggs Benedict; she creates her hollandaise in a blender, which is far easier than whisking egg yolks in a pan.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

RELATED: ‘Barefoot Contessa’: This Is Ina Garten’s Favorite Cocktail: ‘They Have to Be Homemade’

Ina Garten’s chicken sandwiches are the easiest anytime meal

One of Garten’s favorite lunches to make for her husband, Jeffrey, are her fried chicken sandwiches. Though the ingredients list is a bit long, the process is simple — and they’re perfect for dinner, lunch, and even brunch.

Here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups buttermilk, shaken1 shallot, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 jalapeño pepper (with seeds), halved lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts (6 ounces each)
3½ cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
2 (48-ounce) bottles canola oil
6 potato hamburger buns, toasted, for serving
Buttermilk Herb Mayo, for serving
6 Bibb lettuce leaves
Kosher dill pickles, such as Claussen, thinly sliced, for serving

Directions:
Whisk buttermilk, shallot, garlic, jalapeño, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper together in a large bowl. Place chicken between parchment paper and pound each piece to be 1/2-inch thick. Slice each piece in half to create two smaller pieces. Place chicken in marinade and refrigerate 8-24 hours.

Once chicken is marinated, preheat oven to 300. Place a wire rack on a sheet pan, and put the rack and sheet pan in the oven. Then, whisk flour, baking powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, celery salt, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper together in a large bowl, and set aside. Add oil to a medium Dutch oven; oil should be 2 inches deep. Heat oil to 350.

While oil heats, remove chicken from marinade, dredge in flour mixture, then in marinade once more, then in flour mixture once more (make sure to lightly shake off any excess) and set aside. Once oil is heated, fry 3 pieces of chicken at a time for 5 minutes, turning once so chicken browns evenly.

Remove chicken and place on wire rack in oven to keep warm up to 15 minutes until it’s time to assemble the sandwiches. To assemble, add buttermilk herb mayo to each of the bottom buns, then top with 4 pickle slices and a piece of chicken. Add more mayo to the top bun, then add the top bun to the sandwich and serve.