A Very Merry Brunchmas: Chicken and Waffles

IT IS DAY 12 OF THE 12 DAYS OF BRUNCHMAS. I am screaming. On the 12th day, there is no holding back from an over the top brunch recipe. Chicken and Waffles is the most over the top brunch idea. Does anyone else agree? It’s really a treat that I typically would only have at brunch with bottomless mimosas to avoid getting too drunk, but for Brunchmas, it seems fitting.

Chicken and waffles with maple syrup

Origin of Chicken and Waffles

Typically, I don’t search for the origin of certain foods, but chicken and waffles is an odd combo, so I needed to research this menu item. Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know more than I cared to learn. Essentially, just like the origin of Bloody Mary’s, it’s hard to say where the exact origin is. Some articles say that Thomas Jefferson popularized the waffle after buying a few waffle irons from Amsterdam, while other historians can’t confirm that as fact.

Historians can agree on some facts about the dish. One, is that Chicken and Waffles were actually a Pennsylvania Dutch treat. Then again, the Pennsylvania Dutch revered their Fried Catfish and waffles (no thank you) in the 1800s.

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken and Waffles
Photocred: Good Food Stories

There are also two versions of Chicken and Waffles. The Pennsylvania Dutch version –  plain waffle with pulled, stewed chicken on top, covered in gravy. The Southern style is more popular today – fried chicken with waffles and maple syrup.

Chicken and Waffles Recipe

Personally, I am a huge fan of savory and sweet. Southern-Style Chicken and Waffles, have it all – fluffy, sweet waffles combined with crunchy, spicy chicken and a dollop of maple syrup. I’d love to give the Amish version a shot, but today I’m sharing this Southern-Style Recipes by WellSeasonedStudio.

You should know that even though the ingredients and steps look intense, it won’t take longer than an hour and a half. The original recipe says that it takes an hour, but I am slow in the kitchen.

Photocred: Well Seasoned Studio

Hot Tip 1: A dash of cinnamon adds a unique flavor to the waffle batter

Hot Tip 2: WellSeasonedStudio recommends making Belgium waffles for the fluffiest, crispy waffles. Simply separate your eggs and whip the whites into stiff peaks before adding them to the batter.

Hot Tip 3: Do not be lazy. Sure, you can buy frozen waffles, but what’s the point of making a decadent brunch and skimping on the best part?

What You Need

For the chicken

  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • Canola or vegetable oil

For the sauce

  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 ½–2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the waffles

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For serving

  • maple syrup
  • pickle slices

Instructions

For the chicken

  1. Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then cut into ¼” thick strips. Place chicken in a large bowl with salt and pepper, then cover and let sit for 2 hours. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and hot sauce. In a second large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and garlic powder.
  3. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet, then begin coating chicken. Dip each piece of chicken first in the flour mixture, then in the buttermilk, then again in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Transfer to wire rack, then repeat until all chicken strips are coated.
  4. Meanwhile, fill a large cast iron or heavy bottom pan with oil until it’s about 2” high. Heat over medium-high until oil reaches about 350 F. You want to cook the chicken around ~325F, but the temperature will drop when you add the chicken.
  5. When oil is hot, carefully add about ~8 pieces of chicken, depending on the size of your pan, and cook, turning every 1-2 minutes, until all chicken is a golden brown color and has an internal temperature of 160 F, about 6-7 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to a clean wire rack, then repeat cooking remaining chicken. 

To make sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, then heat over medium-high until butter has melted and spices become fragrant. Use a brush to coat each piece of chicken with hot sauce.

To make the waffles

  1. Preheat waffle maker and coat with nonstick oil spray. 
  2. Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. 
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then gently fold in egg whites. Pour about ½ cup batter into each waffle mold, then cook according to waffle maker directions. Serve waffles immediately with hot fried chicken, maple syrup, and pickles
  5. Enjoy!

Where to Find Chicken and Waffles in Pittsburgh

The Coop Chicken and Waffles

Park Bruges

Piper’s Pub

Carmella’s Plates & Pints

Franktuary

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