‘not your average’ chicken & waffles

I cannot tell a lie…I may have given myself, not only a pat on the back, but a self ‘high-five’ for this recipe. It’s.That.Good.

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I mean, just take a look at that….fresh chicken coated in a double dose of flavor, perched atop a fluffy homemade waffle, all drizzled in a maple-bourbon reduction. Can life get any better? (here’s a hint: it can! Take a look at the photo again)

There’s a restaurant that we often frequent for brunch, and one of the (many) reasons that we love to go their is their appetizers. What really stands out for the both of us is their chicken and waffles appetizer – deep fried chicken pieces layered with andouille sausage gravy, pickled veggies, and of course, waffles. It comes with a dipping sauce and it is, without a doubt, totally fabulous. You can easily make it into a meal, but…it’s brunch, after all! You’ve gotta go all out and enjoy the offerings, with a cocktail, of course.

My inspiration behind this dish came from several things: the aforementioned chicken and waffles, the hub’s love of said meal, and a desire to test out my new waffle maker. When I decided that we were going to have this for dinner one night during the work week, his eyes lit up, then glazed over at the glorious thought of having chicken and waffles. At home, no less!

So! Getting back on track – these chicken and waffles are definitely ‘not your average’ ones. By now, you all know the drill. I love to take a recipe that I love and put my own little twist (sometimes healthy, sometimes not-so-healthy) on it to really make it my own. This was one of those recipes. As I’ve mentioned in my doughnut recipe, I am not always the biggest fan of deep frying. It has a time and place, certainly, but if I know I can create the same result with an alternative method, then why not? This was one of those cases.

What makes this chicken really special is how we are going to treat it. Y’all, we are going to show it some love! It’s going to get not one, but two, hefty dredges through a deeply seasoned combination of flours, herbs, and crunchiness. Yes, I said crunchiness. It’s a real thing, I promise. Running it through buttermilk beforehand helps tenderize the meat and adds a great, tangy flavor. Then we’re going to bake it, elevated on a cooling rack atop a baking sheet, to make sure that it gets crispy and crunchy all the way around. You’re still with me, right?

It would be a disservice to the waffles if I didn’t let them have their fifteen minutes of fame in today’s post. Thick and fluffy buttermilk waffles, sweetened slightly with local honey, counterbalance the slight heat we add in to the chicken. They are the bed to the blanket of chicken, then they all get wrapped up in a cozy flavor blanket of maple and bourbon. Wowzer. And the best part? You’re going to have plenty of leftover waffles, and they freeze beautifully! I simply toss them all in a gallon-sized freezer bag, then when I’m ready for one (or three!), just pop them in the toaster. As my girl Ina would say, “How easy is that?”

Let’s get our chicken and waffle on, shall we?

~~~

Oven-Fried Chicken {adapted from Not Your Mother’s Cookbook}

I halved her recipe, resulting in three large portions of oven-fried chicken. Feel free to double or triple, as needed!

1/2 C. low-fat buttermilk (a generous amount)

1 T. whole-grain mustard

Few shakes of Frank’s Hot Sauce, or your favorite

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1-1/2 C. of pretzel crumbs, plain bread crumbs, and finely ground oats*

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a shallow glass dish, add the buttermilk, mustard, and hot sauce. Whisk to combine. This will be the first bowl for preparing the chicken. In another shallow glass dish, combine the flour/oats/pretzels, paprika, herbs, salt and pepper. This will be the second bowl for preparing the chicken. Set the two bowls side by side, wet mixture on the left and dry on the right, with the prepared baking sheet/cooling rack on the far right.

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Taking your first piece of chicken, run it through the wet mixture, being sure to let excess drip off. Run it through the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Repeat again through the wet mixture, then the dry. Finally, place on the cooling rack. Use the same process on the remaining two pieces of chicken. Once complete, spray each piece with a generous amount of olive oil spray.

Bake on the center rack for 40-45 minutes, until juices run clear when poked.

*to make the dredging flour, simply combine the pretzels, bread crumbs, and quick oats into a food processor and process until a fine crumb results. The texture of the oats, paired with the pretzel and bread crumbs, results in a thick crust with great flavor.

NOW! While these beauties cook off in the oven, let’s make waffles, shall we?

Buttermilk Waffles {adapted from Alton Brown’s Basic Waffle Recipe}

Makes 12-15 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle maker

1 C. all-purpose flour

1 C. whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. honey

3 whole eggs, beaten

16 ounces low-fat buttermilk, room temperature

Vegetable spray (for waffle iron)

Preheat waffle maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl beat together the honey, eggs, and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combine. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

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Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. close iron top and cook until the waffle is golden on both sides, and is easily removed from the iron.

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Last, but certainly not least! 

We’ll prepare a delicious syrup to ladle over the stacks of chicken and waffles.

Maple-Bourbon Drizzle

1/2 C. pure maple syrup (please, please be sure to use the real thing!)

1/8 C. your favorite bourbon

Combine the two liquids in a small saucepan on the stovetop. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced and slightly thickened.

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To build these stacks of dinner glory:

Place one waffle on the plate. Top with half of one chicken breast, then another waffle. Place the remaining half of the breast on top of the second waffle. Drizzle with desired amount of syrup. Dive in and I promise, you’ll be transported to chicken and waffle heaven.

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8 thoughts on “‘not your average’ chicken & waffles

  1. Clever! Buttermilk seems to be a very southern thing to batter chicken with. I like it! In Phoenix where I used to live, there’s a restaurant called Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles and let me tell you on Sundays the line that would form for tables was ridiculous! I’ll have to try your recipe out sometime. :D

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