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Chicken and Waffles with Carman Brook Farm maple syrup.

Chicken and Waffles

This chicken and waffles recipe is a little late to the table, we made it over this past sugar season and ate it as a brunch during a pause in the sap run. Everyone was satisfied with the results and has been asking when we’re going to have it again, which prompted me to get around to writing this recipe to share with you all. We combined our Nashville Hot Chicken and Belgian Waffle recipes, with a few tweaks and variations to bring this recipe to the finish line. Don’t worry, if spicy isn’t your thing just skip the hot chicken sauce.

Where did chicken and waffles originate?

It’s been well established that chicken and waffles originated from the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, NY when they opened in 1938. As a hotspot for jazz musicians, Wells served chicken and waffles late into the night and morning hours for musicians finishing their sets. It’s no surprise then, that chicken and waffles firmly established themselves as a perfect stand-in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

When I think about chicken and waffles and their origin, I think it probably has a history much earlier than the 1930s. I haven’t been to every country on Earth, but everyone I’ve visited has their version of fried chicken, as well as a version of waffles or pancakes. For that reason, I don’t think it’s a stretch of the imagination to think that some intrepid chef in far-off history put together their region’s version of a pancake or waffle with their variation of fried chicken. Chicken and waffles are international, this is but one take on the recipe (though a good one!).

How to eat chicken and waffles?

Levon showing us how to eat chicken and waffles at the sugarhouse.

We don’t like to tell people how to handle their business, but if you’re asking, we recommend boneless chicken and using a fork and knife. Once you drizzle your favorite grade of maple syrup over the top, things trend toward the sticky end, and a knife and fork make for a clean experience. If you opt for the spicy Nashville hot chicken sauce, the maple syrup cuts some of the heat and brings balance to the dish.

What to serve with chicken and waffles?

No one ever mistook chicken and waffles for light fare, when we served it for lunchtime at the sugarhouse we opted for some greenery to offset the heavy carbs with a tossed salad. My mom has a great maple balsamic vinaigrette recipe she’s kept in the rotation for years. It’s been our family's staple and again didn’t disappoint! We didn’t overthink the salad ingredients, we just used what was on hand and everyone was happy.

We added a toss salad to serve with our chicken and waffles to lighten it up a little bit.

How to make chicken and waffles?

The day prior, or at least a few hours beforehand, prepare your brine by adding the buttermilk, cayenne, paprika, garlic, and onion powder with salt and pepper. I’ve added recommended quantities of each ingredient, but feel free to tweak them to your preferred taste. The goal with the brine is to have enough to cover the chicken when you add it all together, once together, store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bread the chicken.

Brine your chicken overnight or for atleast a few hours prior to make your chicken and waffles.

For the waffles, I recommend preparing your ingredients beforehand so that while the chicken is resting you can mix them and have them fresh from the iron, or better yet, this job is perfect for an extra set of hands as you don’t want to burn your chicken. In order of importance, I would rank fresh warm waffles just below cooking the chicken to the proper internal temperature.

get a station prepared to bread your chicken to make chicken and waffles.

Up to an hour before you’re ready to start frying the chicken, get together your breading ingredients in a bowl and set up a wire rack so they don’t get soggy from sitting on a plate or baking sheet. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a wire rack, but it certainly improves your chances of achieving 360 degrees of crispy breading coverage. Dredge your chicken in the mixture to coat and set aside on the wire rack, refrigerate for 30-40 minutes for even better results. For our meal we double breaded the chicken by putting the breaded piece of chicken back in the buttermilk brine and sending it back through the breading, this will give you a beautiful crust when it’s finished frying.

Double breading your chicken is a great way to get a craggy, crunchy crust when making your chicken and waffles.

While your freshly breaded chicken is resting in the refrigerator, or as you’re breading the bird if you’re short on time, pre-heat your oil to 325F. If you have decided to make a Nashville chicken hot sauce, now is a good time to prep for that as well (follow the link for more detail on how to prepare that sauce, it’s very easy).  Add the chicken to your fryer, careful not to overcrowd and cool the oil too quickly. Allow the chicken to cook for 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness and remove upon reaching an internal temperature of 160-165F for breast meat, and 170-175F for dark meat. Remember, the chicken will continue to cook about 5 degrees more while it’s resting.

For your waffles, sift your dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, and salt through a sifter to get a smooth texture. Following this add your liquids (minus the egg whites), once they’re added, very carefully incorporate them together being careful not to over stir. While you’re doing this have your mixer (or a helper) beat your egg whites into stiff peaks. Our blog dedicated to Belgian waffles explains this process in more detail, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Fold in your egg whites and pour them onto your hot waffle iron.

Folding in egg whites to your waffle mix to make chicken and waffles.

Once your waffles are done, plate your waffle and place a piece or two of the now-cooled-off chicken over the top. Generously pour your maple syrup of choice over the top, I recommend Amber Rich Taste and cut it up so you get a piece of chicken, waffle, and syrup for every bite. Enjoy!

    Waffle Ingredients:

    Chicken Brine Ingredients:

    • 1 ½ cup of buttermilk
    • 1 tbsp of cayenne powder
    • 1 tbsp of paprika powder
    • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
    • 1 tbsp of onion powder
    • 1 tbsp of salt
    • 1 tbsp of pepper

    Chicken Breading Ingredients:

    • 2 cups of flour
    • 3 tbsp of salt
    • 3 tbsp of pepper
    • 2 tbsp of garlic powder
    • 1 tsp of onion powder
    • 2 tsp of cayenne powder
    • 2 tsp of paprika powder

    Directions:

    1. The day or a few hours prior add all your brine ingredients to your chicken (cut to your ideal size), cover or seal, and set aside in the refrigerator.
    2. Before breading your chicken, get together all your required ingredients for the waffles and sift the dry ingredients, set up your iron, and preheat your cooking oil to 325F.
    3. Prep a wire rack, combine your chicken breading ingredients in a bowl, and dredge your chicken pieces in the mixture. Set aside on the wire rack or double bread your chicken for a crispier breading. Place in your refrigerator for 30-40 minutes for best results (crispy chicken!).
    4. Once your oil is to temperature (325F), gently add your chicken while being careful not to overcrowd the vessel. Put together your ingredients for the Nashville Hot Chicken sauce in a saucepan over low heat at this time as well (find that recipe here!).
    5. Fry your chicken for 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness until you reach an internal temperature of 160-165F for white meat, and 170-175F for dark meat. If you’re by yourself, now is a good time to get your mixer ready to beat your egg whites to fold into the waffle mix.
    6. Once your chicken is done, remove it from the oil, coat it in the Nashville Hot Chicken sauce (if you chose to go this route), and let them rest.
    7. Incorporate your liquid waffle ingredients (minus the egg whites) into your sifted dry ingredients and mix, being careful not to over-stir.
    8. Whip your egg whites to stiff peaks (About 5 minutes or so).
    9. Fold your egg whites into the batter in thirds while being careful not to over-stir again.
    10. Pour into your waffle iron until done, plate, place the chicken on top and drizzle a healthy covering of maple syrup.
    11. Comment on this blog telling us how it went!

    Chicken and waffles

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