When I was a kid, my mom made me waffles almost every weekend. My favorite thing to do was to eat them with chocolate chips and put one chip in each hole. Fast forward a few decades, and I still love waffles, but I am sort of picky about where I order them. My requirements for a waffle is it MUST be served with maple syrup (no artificial corn syrup thank you very much), and it needs to be a big, puffy Belgian- not thin like an Eggo Waffle. I also don’t really like fruit with my waffles; give me some freshly fried chicken and we are in business. But sadly, I rarely find a brunch joint serving chicken and waffles to my very specific requirements, so for football Sunday this week, I decided to do my own. After
stealing borrowing my mom’s waffle maker to make the magic happen, I was ready to make my own chicken and waffle creation.
Since I have trouble making things that are too “ordinary” I decided to make a cheese, bacon, and scallion waffle. I also decided I wanted to make my chicken and waffles in sandwich form so that they could easily be eaten together. Instead of using regular, bone-in chicken, I used boneless chicken thighs for sandwich eating convenience.
My shopping list for this recipe includes:
- 4 Boneless chicken thighs
- Vegetable oil
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Pantry items- flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, butter
- Spices- salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
- Maple syrup
For once, my recipe is pretty straightforward. There are three major steps to making everything come together- frying the chicken, frying the bacon, and making the waffle.
To start with, marinate your chicken thighs in buttermilk for a few hours, and let them sit in the fridge.
When you are about ready to eat, fry up about 4 pieces of bacon, pat dry with paper towels, and break into small bits. Set aside.
In a container that will fit all of your chicken pieces, combine a couple cups of all purpose flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, the paprika, and cayenne. I don’t really measure anything, but don’t be shy with the seasoning. Give the flour a taste to see if it is seasoned to your personal preference. Remember, if the flour is bland, your chicken will be bland. Take your chicken out of the marinade, and dredge all of the chicken pieces so that they are totally covered.
In a cast iron skillet, add enough oil to completely cover the chicken. Heat on high until the oil is hot. I have to confess 1) I do not have a thermometer to test the exact heat of my oil, and 2) this if the first time I have ever fried chicken. I tend to wait until the oil starts to move around a little, and then I drop in a tiny piece of flour, to see if the oil is ready or not. Once ready, I turn the oil down to a medium. Once you add the chicken, you want the oil to sizzle and roil, but you don’t want it to be out of control either.
For boneless chicken thighs, fry on one side for 7 minutes, use tongs to turn over, and fry for another five minutes. Turn off the oil and remove the chicken to paper towels in order to dry.
Not bad for my first fried chicken attempt right?
Next move your giant vat of oil to somewhere in your kitchen where you won’t accidentally knock it over and send yourself to the hospital before you get to eat chicken. Because it is time to focus on the waffles.
For my waffles I used this recipe from Serious Eats. But when I say “recipe” I mean it is just a regular waffle recipe, with the addition of bacon, cheese, and scallions. Use whatever waffle recipe you want, but please, please, I beg you, do not use Bisquick or any other premade “mix”. The invention of Bisquick drives me insane- somehow in the past 30 years food production companies have convinced people they cannot make pancakes and waffles without a mix. Do you know what is in waffle mix? Flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Plus probably some other crap that doesn’t need to be in there. Most people have all necessary ingredients in their pantry. Don’t waste your money on pancake mix. End rant.
The beauty of a waffle maker is, it takes out any guess work when it comes to deciding if something is done. All you have to do is spray the thing down with cooking spray and plug it in. When the light goes off, the iron is hot. Add a cup of mix to the center of the machine, and gently spread it around a little. Close the press. The light will come on. When it goes off, your waffle is ready. All you have to do is try not to mess with it until the light changes colors. And maybe use an oven mitt to open and close the iron because the thing does get hot.
Just follow the instructions and you get a perfect waffle.
Now the fun part is putting it all together. Cut the waffle in half. Add two pieces of chicken to the bottom and top it off with the other half. Get fancy and use a couple of rosemary sprigs to hold the sandwich together.
And then add the syrup. Oh, I love maple syrup.
And you have the perfect chicken and waffle sandwich- good for breakfast or dinner. Highly recommended to serve during any type of sporting events. Your friends and loved ones will be equal parts impressed and thankful.