Monday, October 1, 2012

Chicken and waffles

Invited Dewey to Sunday brunch.  I'd originally planned to usher in the fall season with pumpkin waffles, but at last minute, decided to go a different direction -- chicken and waffles.

I'll admit I've never eaten chicken and waffles -- fried chicken on top of crisp waffles, and drizzled with maple syrup or other types of (typically sweet) condiments. 

What the heck.

I have a great basic buttermilk waffle recipe from Saveur magazine.  I doubled that recipe for about 8 waffles total.  I also did NOT separate the eggs -- it's just not necessary for a waffle. 

2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
6 eggs
2 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large mixing bowl.

2. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl and add buttermilk and butter. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

3. Spread batter over three-quarters of the surface of a hot, lightly greased waffle iron, close lid, and cook until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.

On to the chicken.  The idea of a piece of fried chicken, bones and all, on top of a waffle seemed silly.  Why not a boneless breast or thigh??  My preference is for dark meat, so that's what I used.  I soaked 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in 2 cups buttermilk for 2 hours at room temperature.  Before you react to the room-temperature soaking, keep in mind that the chicken and the buttermilk were at 40°F when combined, and were cooked immediately after soaking.  Bringing the meat to room temperature before frying assists uniform cooking.

I drained the meat, seasoned it well with "house seasoning" (salt, pepper, garlic powder), then sprinkled a mixture of herbs and seasonings liberally on both sides.  My seasoning mixture was homemade (garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, cayenne, thyme, rosemary -- but no salt in this mixture), but you can certainly use any good commercially available seasoned salt product.  The meat was then dumped into a bowl of all-purpose flour and tossed to coat well.  I let it sit for 10 minutes, then tossed again to assure complete coating.  Some folks double-dip their fried chicken -- flour, then buttermilk, then flour again -- but I find that doing that creates a very thick, unappetizing coating.  Too much "Colonel," not enough chicken.

The coated thighs were fried in about an inch of corn oil at 350°F, about 5 or 6 minutes per side, until brown and crisp, then kept in a 200°F oven until ready to serve.

Pile a few strips of bacon on top of a hot, crisp waffle, top with chicken, then drizzle liberally with maple syrup or homemade jam.  I also served a plum-apple compote alongside -- an excellent alternative to maple syrup. 

 Crisp buttermilk waffle, bacon, fried chicken, just before the syrup gets drizzled all over.

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