I’ve traveled here and there over the years. I’ve watched a lot of cooking shows and it all kept coming back to this southern phenomenon I could not shake. I’d thought about it for years, seen it on billboards and finally this winter in the winter of #eatingmywaythruwinter I made it a reality! I have to say I was pleased. It is a good comfort food on a cold MN winter, so I think the southerners are going to have to give it up for Northern Chicken and Waffles. Trying to decide what vegetable to side it with was a little tougher. I don’t, according to the rumor vine, do brussel sprouts well, so I went with something that seemed southern that I do do well! We had the always favorite Wilted Spinach salad. I might need to blog that on another day.
I started with the chicken (seems to make sense since that was going to take a lot longer than cooking up a waffle or two.) and my go to recipe for fried chicken is one I found on Ermeril Lagasse searches. He is from New Orleans, it seemed it would be a good one to start with. As usual, I took his recipe and made it mine with a few tweeks but the basic method is the same.
My husband and I prefer dark meat and since I didn’t want bones I bought a package of skinned and boned thigh pieces. My first step is to pierce them with a fork to let all the marinade soak in well.
After that is complete I like to season my thighs. I generally use prime rib seasoning that one finds at Coborns grocery stores, garlic powder, paprika and anything else that makes me happy.
Next is by far the MOST important part of making good fried chicken!!!! The buttermilk soak!!! So I place all my thighs into a ziplock bad and cover the entire thing with buttermilk!!!
At this point we just wait and let the chicken relax in the buttermilk and spices in the refrigerator.
I try to let it soak for at least 3 or 4 hours. At this point we want to remove the chicken from the buttermilk but save the buttermilk as we still need it! Pat the chicken down well but remember to practice safe handling skills. (Figured I should throw that in now and then).
Now I get out my coating station. Like I mentioned pat the chicken down well. It can be moist but you don’t want it soaking! I take my flouring contraption I was given for Christmas several years ago and place in it about a cup of corn starch and a cup of fry magic. I’m sure most people have coatings they prefer but I always get good results from these two items. To that I also add more seasoning. More garlic, pepper, paprika and sometimes cayenne pepper along with lemon pepper. At the end of your coating station place a large cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan) lined with paper towels and a cookie rack on it.
Ok so at this point, start with clean hands (I actually often use those cheap food service gloves just because the mess my hands encounter and I’ve got a zillion of them from chopping jalapeno’s this fall) and take a piece of chicken or several and put in the dry coating thing. Shake them up good, than dip them in the buttermilk and let the excess drip off. One more douse in the dry coating and then onto the wire rack. I usually do this in groups of three pieces as that seems to fit the best with out over crowding and making sure all the chicken gets proper coverage! This next step is going to shock you. Well, maybe not but it did me. Let that chicken sit on that wire rack out in the open for at least an hour!!! I learned this past week, I can actually put it in the fridge as well even up to over night (DON”T COVER IT) but make sure it gets back to almost room temperature before frying! This sets that coating up!!! And by gosh golly, it REALLY WORKS!!!!
So in the meantime get your Waffle things organized. I like to use WA states Columbia Basin Blends waffle mix. You just add water but I also add some olive or avocado oil (it just seems to crisp things up) and I added some Herbs of Provence (my newest favorite savory herb blend!!!).
If you have waited the required hour for your chicken coating to set up, you may not get your frying oil ready. I like to use my deep fat fryer but have also fried with this recipe in an electric skillet. I deep fry until the coating is brown and crispy and then place on a baking sheet with a cookie rack again (I like to put a paper bag in between to catch the drips). I have my oven set to 350 degrees and after all the pieces are fried, I place them in the oven to finish cooking. You want fried chicken to come up to a temperature of 165 degrees. Depending upon the pieces of chicken time will vary and that is when a well working meat thermometer is a must!
So now we have waffles, and we have fried chicken…….and somewhere in there I also prepared the wilted spinach salad. SO let us eat! Lots of people drizzle their chicken and waffles with different items. Maple syrup, Bacon Maple syrup. Me……I use Bourbon Maple syrup and Cholula!!! Cuz it is all about the hot sauce!
I hope some of my other northern friends who have yet to try the Chicken and Waffle give it a try. It really is a good combination, but it definitely (fun fact here….that is a word I can NEVER spell……..at 53, I still have to look it up to see how many and where the darn “I”s go) needs a veggie to counter act all that starch!
And on that note, I wish you Bon Appetite!