Chicago: Leghorn Fried Chicken

Chicago, Cities, Food, To Eat
Leghorn Chicken Sandwich
Leghorn Chicken Sandwich

Photo: Leghorn Chicken

These days it seems that a new fried chicken place is popping up every week, proving the new adage “Fried Chicken is the new Black.” Trust me people are saying that. Or maybe it’s just me.

I sampled the goods at the newest chicken darling, Leghorn Chicken on opening day, before the crowd settled in. Trust me, this is one chicken joint that has been drawing serious crowds since opening. Within hours of its 11:00 a.m. opening bell,  the chicken is gone — lasting only 90 minutes on opening day.

Leghorn has a simple menu with 3 basic choices to make:  1) if you want your chicken pickle brined or Nashville hot 2) if you want a chicken breast or chicken thigh and 3) if you want your sandwich on a bun or biscuit. Pro Tip: opt for the Nashville hot since both versions are actually pickle brined. We all know that brining chicken ensures that it comes out deliciously juicy but the addition of dill in the ‘pickle brine’ adds an extra layer of flavor. The ‘Nashville hot’ adds a dab of spice to your sandwich.

After you decide on your cut of meat and bun (I also chose with breast and house made bun) it’s time to talk sides. I went with the shaved vegetable slaw, hush puppies and a peanut butter oatmeal cookie. The slaw was fresh and crispy and the hush puppies were pleasantly light with a touch of spice from the green chile. The chicken had a delicious, crispy breading without the standard serving of oil that can weigh down fried chicken.

leghorn fried chicken

Photo: Leghorn Fried Chicken

If you’re still scratching your head over the term Leghorn, here’s a fun fact: Leghorns are a heritage breed of chicken that first came to the United States in the mid 19th century and are named after the Italian town of Livorno in Tuscany. Due to their prolific capacity to lay eggs, they became the overworked stalwart of the vast commercial egg industry. Now, thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated farmers to restore the breed, the remaining ‘non-industrial Leghorn’ chickens are raised on small farms all across the country. The namesake represents the owners’ belief that the small steps and passions of a few can benefit all.

DIY Pickle Brined Chicken: If you can’t make it to Leghorn before the chicken well runs dry, take some inspiration from them and “southern” up your next chicken meal. Brine your chicken in the juice from that jar of pickles you just finished eating.  To do so,  place thawed chicken in a plastic bag with the brine and some fresh cracked pepper and put it in the fridge to marinate overnight. The next day, prepare chicken as planned.

And maybe next time set a reminder on our phone so you can get yourself to Leghorn promptly at 11:01 a.m.

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