For the Chicken
1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
1 gallon fry oil
For the Macaroni
½ pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
½ cup yellow onion, finely diced
½ teaspoon paprika
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons butter for topping
For the Chicken
Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk and let soak for at least 2 hours.
Heat enough oil (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan, approximately 4 cups, depending on the size of your pan. Bring the oil temperature to 325°. Do not allow oil to get hotter than 325°.
Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Next dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
Place chicken, skin side down, into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor oil temperature every few minutes.)
Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. * Don’t drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven.
For the Mac and Cheese
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes to cook out the starch flavor.
Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a sauté pan and mix it with the bread crumbs. Top the macaroni with the bread crumb mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes before serving.
Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.