Chicken and Waffles has definitely become an iconic dish that started back in the early 1900’s in Harlem New York. The combo might sound weird but once you have it, there is no looking back! I promise you that!
When I had first heard of this wonderful combo, I’ll admit that I was super skeptical that it would work but I am so glad that I was proven wrong! I’m not really one to mix my sweet and savory but I’m so glad this dish opened up my eyes to a whole new world. I don’t think I’ll ever eat my breakfast sausage and maple syrup in the same bite, though. I can’t commit to that leap.
Do you all remember a few months ago, when I guest posted on Pastries in Progress and I did those amazing Roasted Corn Fritters with Sriracha Mayo??? To die for, I know! I had so much batter left over though and really didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do with it (I knew I didn’t want to eat a billion fritters, that was for sure!). My genius husband told me to freeze the batter and then come back to it when I thought of something.
Well I thought of something!
I decided to make my own fancied up version of Chicken and Waffles! Mind is blown, I know! I have seen, and made, some waffle recipes with whipped egg whites within the batter to help give it some body. I knew that this fritter batter would definitely have second life as waffles.
Now as amazing as these waffles are, I can be the first to tell you that what will ruin this dish is horribly fried chicken! Let me teach you some key points to making amazing fried chicken:
You need to show some love to the meat before breading it.
You can (and should) season the flour that the chicken is being breaded in but you should also season the meat before breading it. And I’m not talking just salt and pepper. I wanted to use some chile powder to help play off the chile flavor in the syrup. I also wanted some earthiness from the oregano to offset the sweet. If you feel like you want to marinate the chicken ahead of time, add the seasoning to some butter milk and let the chicken marinate in that. The acidity in the buttermilk will help tenderize the chicken and lead to a very beautiful and wonderful thing.
You need hot oil.
This helps ensure a crispy breading. There is nothing worse than soggy breading. Yuck! There is a careful balance you need to achieve in order to get crispy breading but not have raw chicken. One suggestion is to fry the chicken and then let them “rest” in an oven set to 350 degrees to continue cooking. I would definitely make sure to drain the oil off of the chicken and season with salt before setting in the oven, otherwise you get soggy chicken still.
Season. Season. Season.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you need to season food right as it comes out of hot oil! Yes, we seasoned the meat; we seasoned the flour; but now we need to add a little finish of salt to the chicken to help really highlight the flavor at the first bite. We season the meat in the beginning to infuse the meat with those flavors. We season the breading so that if/when it falls off the chicken, it’s just as delicious and can stand on it’s on. And we season hot foods to make sure our tongue gets a good first impression with our first bite.
Here is a tip with breading chicken that will help you work cleaner and avoid the huge gob of mess on your fingers. I learned this trick back when I worked at Conference Center and had to bread enough chicken for a 250 person dinner… Washing my hands every so often was not an option.
Designate one hand for wet and one hand for dry.
This will save you on soap, paper towels and water! It also is a HUGE time saver! Use one hand to transfer your chicken to the flour and then to the egg wash. Use your other hand to flip the chicken in the egg wash and back to the flour. Use your dry hand to flip the eggy chicken in the four. Bam! Your hands won’t have a pound of eggy flour stuck to your fingertips by the end of this!
Traditionally, chicken and waffles is served with some warm honey. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t do honey very much. But I do love syrup! The addition of bacon and chilies to the syrup, I think really rounds out my take on this classic and plays off of the flavor of the corn nicely! If you are a honey lover, by all means, take the same idea but use honey instead!
To get the recipe for the corn waffle batter, visit Pastries in Progress of here. The only difference is that you will be cooking the batter in a waffle iron instead of deep frying.
I really hope you all love this dish! I had a great time making it and was itching to share this with you. An idea of what to do with the leftovers (if there are any, let’s be honest!), make a Chicken and Waffle sandwich with Sriracha Mayo! It’ll rock your world, I promise!
Happy eating everyone!
- 1/2 # chicken thighs
- 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- all purpose flour enough to cover the bottom of breading dish
- 3 each Eggs whisked
- 1/4 cup milk
- vegetable oil for frying
- 3 strips bacon
- 3 each chile de arbol or any dried chile you like
- 3/4 cup syrup if maple is not available, panacake syrup will do
Season chicken with seasonings, making sure to evenly coat each piece. If marinating in buttermilk, use enough to cover chicken and let marinate up to a day in the fridge.
Get oil heating in a pan with high sides over about medium high heat.
Make egg wash with eggs and milk. Mix chile, onion, and garlic powders along with salt and pepper with the flour. Begin to bread chicken starting with flour, moving to egg wash, and then back to the flour.
Fry chicken, making sure not to crowd the pan. Flip once chicken is golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Continue frying until the chicken is evenly colored and cooked through (if using a kitchen thermometer, the temperature should read 165), about 5 more minutes. Drain and season.
Cube bacon and render in a small saucepan until crispy, about 5-7 minutes over medium heat. DO NOT DRAIN!
Add syrup and chiles to bacon, lower temperature and let the flavors infuse over low heat until the waffles and chicken are ready.
Cook corn waffle batter in waffle iron until desired doneness. Make sure to spray iron well with nonstick cooking spray.