I’ve recently become obsessed with Gary Cooper – not the Gary Cooper, but a decadent doughnut breakfast that a local Minneapolis diner serves, named after Mr. G.C. The diner is the Hi-Lo Diner, a new establishment that serves a fancy item called a Hi-Top, which is essentially a doughnut piled high with either sweet or savory ingredients. The Gary Cooper is my favorite hi-top on the menu, it’s covered with buttermilk fried chicken, maple-bourbon syrup, country gravy, and micro arugula. I decided to try and recreate this number in my own kitchen, using our no-knead brioche dough for the doughnut base, and then building the rest with maple syrup, mashed potatoes, gravy, and crispy chicken. It was incredibly delicious, and although this dinner will be a special occasion treat in at my house, it was worth all the effort.
Chicken and Doughnuts
For the doughnuts
Doughnuts start with Brioche Dough. I used the dough from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but you can make a batch with whole grains from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon Red Star Platinum, Quick Rise or Active Dry Yeast
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
8 large Eggs
1/2 cup Honey
3 sticks Unsalted Butter
7 1/2 cups All-Purpose Gold Medal Flour
Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in a 6-quart lidded container. Add the flour and combine with a Danish Dough Whisk or 5-Quart Stand Mixer (with paddle) until a smooth dough forms. Cover, but not airtight, and allow to rest on the counter for 2 hours. It will be quite wet and can’t be used until thoroughly chilled. Refrigerate and use over the next 5 days. For more detailed instructions please refer to page 301 of The New ABin5.
To fry the doughnuts:
Vegetable Oil – 3 to 4 inches deep, use a pot that is large enough that your oil is not sitting too high in the pot.
Pull out a 1-pound piece of dough and roll it out to a 1/2-inch thick. Use a round cookie or biscuit cutter.
Allow the dough to sit for at least 20 minutes and up to 60 minutes while the oil heats up.
Once your oil reads 360-370°F on a Candy Thermometer you are ready to fry. The amount of doughnuts you put in the pot at a time will depend on the size of your doughnuts and pots, but be sure not to over crowd them.
Use a slotted spoon or Basket Strainer to flip the doughnuts over after about 2 minutes and then to take them out of the oil once they are golden brown on both sides. Lay them out on paper towel to allow some of the oil to drain off.
Let the doughnuts cool for 2 minutes, then use the back of a spoon to gently make a slight indent in the center of each doughnut.
For the chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces (about 3-inches each)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt to your liking. Let sit while preparing the bread crumbs.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and flour until smooth.
In another shallow bowl, combine the panko, garlic powder, and pepper.
Dredge the chicken pieces the eggs mixture, allowing any excess to drip off. Move the chicken to the bread crumbs bowl and coat all sides with the mixture.
Heat the vegetable oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering (put enough oil in the pan so it covers the skillet about 1/2-inch deep). Place about half of the chicken pieces in the skillet (don’t crowd them) and cook without moving them until the bottoms are golden and crispy, 1-2 minutes. Flip the pieces over and cook the other side until golden, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and repeat with the remaining pieces. (You can keep the chicken pieces warm in a 200F oven while the rest of the pieces are cooking.)
Other ingredients needed
Mashed potatoes (your favorite recipe will work!)
Place a doughnut on a plate. Pour a generous amount of maple syrup into the center. Top with a scoop of warm mashed potatoes.
Poor warm gravy over the potatoes.
Top with the crispy chicken, and eat immediately. Add some greens if you are feeling guilty.