Chicken and Waffles For Two

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We’re at day 4 of WAFFLE WEEK! And this one is a really good one. I couldn’t do a Waffle Week without including this iconic classic. If you’ve never tried chicken and waffles, which is the exact boat I found myself in until my early thirties, well, please know it’s a bad boat in which to be. Get yourself out of that boat, pronto! Everyone simply must try this dish at least once in their lives.

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Chicken and waffles is classic soul food. The exact origin of the dish in uncertain, but what is agreed upon is that it rose to popularity in the 1930’s in Harlem, NY. Harlem had tons of jazz clubs then, and the musicians would be done with their sets either very late at night, or very early in the morning, depending on your perspective.

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So, the local diners and restaurants smelled a potential profit opportunity and started serving these musicians and fans a combination of dinner and breakfast! It worked out quite nicely, not only for the jazz club patrons and restaurant owners and employees who dined and served back then, but for those of us living outside of Harlem in modern times, too. Because this dish is really unbelievable!!

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No lie, no exaggeration, this particular version of Chicken and Waffles that I’m blogging today is, hands down, the BEST plate of chicken and waffles I’ve ever tasted. Now, don’t get me wrong, I haven’t had this dish too many times in my life – only a nice handful. Which my waistline appreciates, I’m sure. This is a bit of a splurge dish, which is why I wanted to adapt it to serve only 2 people.

But, I have had this dish at a well-known restaurant in Harlem, and that plate of food wasn’t as good as this one I made at home. Seriously, this one is tops. I’m extremely pleased to have this on my blog, and to share it with you.

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{One Year Ago: Chicken Pot Pie}

Source: adapted from Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh by Emeril Lagasse

¾ cup maple syrup
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs Crystal hot sauce
1 vanilla bean, split and cut in half crosswise

¾ cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tbs Crystal hot sauce, or any other Louisiana style hot sauce
¾ tbs sugar
¾ tbs kosher salt, plus extra
½ tsp sweet paprika
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 whole chicken legs, bone-in, skin-on, separated into thigh and drumstick
1 to 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for deep frying

¾ cup cake flour
1 ½ tbs sugar
1 tbs yellow cornmeal
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 large egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted

First, make the MAPLE SYRUP so it can steep while you’re preparing the rest of the meal. Add the maple syrup to a small saucepan and keep it over low heat on a back burner of your stove. Add the black pepper and hot sauce; stir to combine. Throw in the vanilla bean pieces and let it steep while you make the chicken and waffles.
For the FRIED CHICKEN: in a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, sugar, salt, paprika, and garlic. Place the chicken pieces in a large, resealable plastic bag. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken and massage the bag so that all the chicken is coated. Seal the bag, place it in a bowl or baking dish. Place it in the refrigerator and let it marinate at least 8 hours, and up to overnight.
In a medium sized bowl, add the flour and a couple pinches of salt. Take the chicken out, and remove the pieces from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off. Place the chicken pieces in the flour and dredge thoroughly. Tap off the excess and lay them on a plate. Do this in batches if necessary.
Heat a couple of inches of canola oil in a wide, deep-sided skillet. Use a candy thermometer to bring the oil up to 350 F. When it’s ready, carefully slide the chicken pieces into the oil and deep fry them, about 16 minutes total, until the coating is golden brown and crispy, turning once, and the chicken is cooked through in the center.
Remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate and let the excess oil drain off.
While the chicken is working, make the WAFFLES. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Add the butter and whisk again until just combined.
Preheat your waffle iron. When it’s ready, grease it well and pour the waffle batter in. make the waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions. Work in batches if necessary.
To serve, place 1 or 2 waffles on a dinner plate (depending on whether your waffle iron makes larger round or smaller rectangle waffles). Place a fried chicken thigh and a fried chicken drumstick on the waffle(s). drizzle the maple syrup over all and dig in.

5 responses to “Chicken and Waffles For Two

  1. YUM. I’ve never tried to make these at home, but now I think I’ll have to! Looks incredible!

  2. Ho. Lee. Cow.
    Julie, from the pepper/hot sauce/vanilla bean maple syrup down to the fried chicken this looks amazing. I know that your plate had to taste better than a restaurant because of the layers of flavor you added to each component. Wow!
    I am just chicken about frying in inches of oil, but boy I would love to eat this.

  3. Pingback: Food history: chicken and waffles -

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