Monday, July 8, 2013

Chicken N' Waffles

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Growing up in the south, I was no stranger to fried chicken. I'm pretty sure it was a weekly staple at our house, and looking back, was definitely the star of the show. I remember watching my mom stand over her big cast iron skillet frying up those breasts, thighs, and drumsticks after giving them a good toss in a flour filled brown paper grocery bag. Nothing fancy about our family's fried chicken, but it was the stuff dreams are made of. Well, fried dreams anyway. 

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When my husband and I go back to visit Atlanta, no matter where we eat, he will always (ALWAYS!) order fried chicken and waffles. Really, it's the very first thing he looks for on the menu. Did I mention that he eats this for breakfast? Now let me tell you, my southern roots run deep and I do love me some fried chicken, but eating fried chicken WITH waffles for breakfast? This might be where I draw the line.

But, it makes him seriously happy, so who am I to put a damper on that kind of fried breakfast bliss?

Since I'm a lover of fried chicken n' waffles, but usually like to keep my breakfasts below 1000 calories, I obviously have myself a bit of a conundrum. What to do, what to do? I say we should whip up this yummy little combo for dinner! Then everyone's happy!

Chicken n' Waffles
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma

For the fried chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded to 1/2 inch thick
1 cup buttermilk
4 dashes Tobasco
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Canola oil for frying

Place chicken breast halves in a large bowl. Pour buttermilk and Tobasco over chicken and let marinate for at least three hours or overnight.
In a shallow dish, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.

After chicken has marinated, one at a time, remove breast halves from bag allowing excess liquid to drip off. Coat the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Place baking sheet in refrigerator and allow to chill for at least two hours.

Meanwhile, set a wire rack on another rimmed baking sheet and preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch into a cast iron skillet and heat over high heat to 375 degrees F on a deep frying thermometer.
Working in batches, add the chicken and cook turning once, until golden brown and an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees F (about 3 minutes on each side).

Adjust the heat, if needed, to maintain 375 degrees F on the deep frying thermometer.
With metal tongs, remove the chicken from the oil and place on the rimmed baking sheet with the wire rack. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven to keep warm while you fry the rest of the chicken.
Repeat this process with the rest of the chicken.
While the chicken is frying, make the waffles.

For the waffles:
1 1/2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup corn kernels (I sliced the kernels off of 2 cobs that I grilled. You could also use frozen corn)
Pure maple syrup for serving
Tobasco for serving

Preheat waffle iron. In a large bowl, sift together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, and egg yolks. Add to cornmeal mixture and stir just until combined. Batter will be lumpy.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites evenly into batter. Lastly, fold in the corn. Lightly spray waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Ladle the batter onto the grid, close the lid, and cook until the waffle is golden brown and no more steam is coming out of the iron, about 4 minutes. Place cooked waffles on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

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Serve the chicken and waffles piping hot with butter, warm maple syrup, and Tobasco on the side.

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