Chicken. Waffles.

You might assume that, since I grew up in North Carolina, I’ve had my fair share of chicken n’ waffles. Apparently it’s a Southern sorta dish. I mean, duh, the fried chicken is. But the waffles? It’s something I didn’t know much about. There. I admitted it.

I saw this recipe a while back (ahem, according to the clipping, I found it over a year ago), and I knew I’d need to give it a whirl at some point, to see what all the fuss about fried chicken and waffles being a “perfect marriage of sweet and savory” was about. But for some reason I kept putting it off. I think most of us have an aversion to home-frying. It seems the grease manages to get everywhere, despite using fancy splatter screens. And Chris, well, he’d rather not see the pile o’ shortening in solid form before it melts its way to a hot liquid bed of fry-ready goodness. After all, shortening (or even lard) is truly the only real way to fry chicken, though other methods work just fine in a pinch.

Speaking of other methods, I made fried chicken a while back and posted it on here. It was a different take on your traditional Southern style dish – not brined in buttermilk and fried in shortening, rather it was coated in matzo meal (I’m not kidding) and fried in a vat of canola oil. It was amazing. It’s not a bad way to go if you don’t have time to soak chicken in buttermilk, or for this dish in particular, if frying chicken and making waffles (which also involves cooking sweet potatoes here) is a bit too much, even for a weekend.

Me? I decided to make this specific dish at the last minute before heading out to wine country for the day (it’s a tough life, but someone has to do it…), and in the midst of getting ready to leave, I hustled down to Faletti’s and grabbed a whole chicken, some buttermilk, and a couple of other necessities, threw it all down on the counter, cut the chicken into 8 pieces with the quickness I harnessed from my dad’s teachings, and tossed that sucker into buttermilk until we got home later that night. I already had some mashed sweet potatoes in the fridge, which is what inspired me to cook this in the first place (and they had goat cheese in them, which imparted a tasty flavor into the waffles!).

The recipe is definitely intended to be eaten in 8 servings (maybe less if the wing or drumstick portions aren’t enough for ya). It’s rich, it’s hefty, and it is perfect when you dip back and forth between maple syrup and Frank’s hot sauce. The sweet/savory thing? I totally get it now. Which is probably why, after Sunday afternoon, I had to figure out another dish for dinner that night, as someone in this house managed to eat each and every leftover piece of chicken straight from the fridge, with a tiny crumb trail left as evidence from the fridge to island. The advantage? Lots of leftover waffles that resulted in breakfasts and even a couple of dinners over the upcoming weeks. The disadvantage? I’m feeling another urge to make it again, fried mess and all, because I only ate one whole piece. Decisions, decisions.

Buttermilk-Fried Chicken n’ Sweet Potato Waffles
barely adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2011; serves 8

printable versions
entire recipe
fried chicken only
waffles only 

ingredients
chicken
2 c buttermilk
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 lg onion, thinly sliced
1 c assorted chopped fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme)
2 t paprika
2 t cayenne pepper
4 1/2-lb fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 c vegetable shortening
3 c all-purpose flour
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
2 t cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

waffles
2 c peeled, 1/2″ cubes red-skinned sweet potatoes
1 c whole milk
2 lg egg yolks
1/4 c (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 t freshly grated peeled ginger
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cloves
1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
6 lg egg whites, room temperature
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

serving
Hot pepper sauce (Franks)
Pure maple syrup

special tools
A deep-fry thermometer
waffle iron

instructions
Marinate chicken
Whisk first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken; cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Fry chicken
Melt vegetable shortening in a large cast-iron skillet. Arrange a deep-fry thermometer in skillet so bulb is submerged. Heat over medium heat until shortening reaches 325 F. While this is getting to the correct temperature, prepare waffle mix (see below).

Meanwhile, mix flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne in a large brown paper bag. Drain chicken, leaving some herbs still clinging. Season generously with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, add chicken to bag, roll top over to seal, and shake well to coat chicken. Let chicken stand in bag 1 minute; shake again.

Fry chicken in skillet until golden brown and cooked through, 10–15 minutes per side. Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired. Repeat with second batch of chicken. Make waffles simultaneously (see below).

Waffles
Place sweet potatoes in a steamer basket set in a large saucepan of simmering water. Steam potatoes until tender, about 17 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and mash well. Add milk, egg yolks, brown sugar, butter, and ginger; whisk to blend.

Preheat waffle iron. Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add potato mixture and whisk to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until peaks form. Add 1/3 of whites to potato mixture; fold just to blend. Add remaining whites in 2 batches, folding just to blend between additions.

Coat waffle iron with nonstick spray. Working in batches, add batter to waffle iron (amount needed and cooking time will vary depending on machine). Cook until waffles are lightly browned and set.

Serve 1 waffle with 1 piece of chicken and both sauces.

In the morning, I’m makin’ Waffles!

buttermilk waffle with cherry almond sauce

.. with cherry-almond syrup. Yum. I won’t spend a ton of time talking about this recipe. It’s early enough where you still have time to make it if you want! You are likely to have a bag of frozen cherries in your fridge, and the other ingredients are pretty basic. Plus, it’s a great way to get some use out of that old rusty waffle maker that’s hanging out all lonely in the back of your cabinet.


I found this recipe in a recent Bon Appetit magazine. At first I didn’t think it was too entirely special, but I was wrong. Nothin’ like fluffy buttermilk waffles topped with a syrupy cherry sauce with real cherries that squish in your mouth at every bite. Not to mention the additional toppings that can also be invited to the party – nuts, whipped cream, ice cream if you want it for dessert, whatever. What you don’t need is any other syrup. This is a party where maple syrup is not on the guest list. I didn’t use the Bon Appetit waffle recipe – it was a little odd because it didn’t have eggs in it and seemed like it would be really thick. So I just made standard buttermilk waffle batter and used the syrup recipe. I bet you can substitute any frozen fruit and any type of preserve in this recipe. You could even use a different extract. For this round, I used apricot preserves since I didn’t have cherry preserves. It worked well. I think next time, I might try this recipe with cranberries and orange extract. Maybe some orange zest too. The cherries would also pair well with vanilla extract. Let me know what combinations you try and how they work!


waffle and sauce



Buttermilk Waffles w/ Cherry-Almond Sauce
Sauce adapted from Bon Appetit magazine



ingredients
1 10-12oz bag frozen pitted dark sweet cherries (not thawed)
1 cup cherry preserves
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


instructions
Combine frozen cherries (or other fruit) and cherry preserves (or any preserve) in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until cherries begin to thaw and juices form. Boil gently until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and stir in extract.



Heat waffle maker according to instructions. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in bowl. In separate bowl, whisk eggs into buttermilk; add water, vanilla, and lastly, butter. Slowly add these ingredients to dry mixture and whisk just until blended. Now cook waffles according to waffle maker instructions. When finished, place waffles on plates and top with cherry sauce and whatever else you want!


chris likes waffles


As you can see, you’ll want to sop up every last drop of sauce!