We have been eating a lot of chicken. One of my favorite ways to prepare it – and luckily a family favorite – is to simply season it and grill it. So easy and can literally go from the package in the fridge to the plate on the table with minimal effort and time. On the other side of the spectrum – both in terms of effort and decadence – is fried chicken. But every once in a while, it is worth it to get out the oil and mess up the kitchen. Eliza had requested fried chicken when she first came home and I decided to surprise her with an even bigger favorite – chicken and waffles. Here are my recipes for both, and I like to serve it with some fresh fruit to provide a little balance in this breakfast for dinner extravaganza.
Soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk (I had 8 bone-in thighs and I used about 2 cups buttermilk). You can season the buttermilk as you’d like – I added hot sauce, onion powder, garlic, and fresh thyme to mine. Cover and soak for several hours in the fridge.
(Note: I rarely have buttermilk on hand unless I know I will be using it in a recipe, but adding 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar to 1 cup of whole milk coverts it to buttermilk.)
When ready to start frying, fill a large plastic bag with 2 cups flour, ½ tsp. chili powder, and 1 tsp garlic salt. Take each piece of chicken out of the buttermilk one at a time, shake it off to release any extra buttermilk, and put it in the plastic bag. Shake until covered in the flour, dust off and place on a plate. Repeat with all of the other pieces.
Heat oil in a large frying pan (I find my cast iron works best) – you want it to be deep enough to fry the chicken but don’t fill the pan too high or it will bubble and splatter all over the place once you add the chicken. (Yes, I speak from experience on this one. I learned this lesson the hard way.) Fry the chicken 3 pieces at a time. Watch your flame because you do not want the chicken to brown too quickly without getting fully cooked. Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to drain the oil. I then put it in a preheated 350 oven to continue cooking and to keep it warm while making the rest. Ditto for the waffles.
For the waffles, I like to separate my eggs and whip the whites to stiff peaks. This makes them light and airy while still crispy on the outside. David got me a double waffle iron a few years ago that makes churning out waffles in quick order much easier. I got the waffle recipe I have been using lately off the web from a cooking site called Spend with Pennies.
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
Preheat waffle iron.
Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
In a small bowl, mix egg yolks, milk and butter. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer on medium high speed until stiff peaks form.
Add egg yolks to flour mixture and stir to combine. Fold in egg whites.
Drop by large spoonfuls onto greased waffle iron, close the lid and cook until done (3-5 minutes).
I like to heat my syrup (definitely worth paying extra for real maple syrup) in the microwave for 30 seconds so that it is served hot. (Let the record reflect that Eliza likes the cheap artificial syrup and I had to shove it out of the way so that it wouldn’t mar my pics!)