You never forget your first: Fried Chicken and Pecan Waffles with Apricot Syrup

13 Oct

Chicken and Waffles

The first time I heard about a culinary phenomenon called fried chicken and waffles, I must admit to being a little perplexed by the combination.  Sure, both things are great in their own right, but I wouldn’t think to pair them in a single meal.  This confusion is largely tied to my region of birth.  Chicken and waffles traces its roots to the soul food traditions of The South though its specific origin is somewhat murky.  One account has Thomas Jefferson bringing a waffle iron back to America from France in the 1790’s with the combination becoming commonplace shortly thereafter.  Others describe the dish as a delicacy stemming from mid-Nineteenth Century slave culture where both poultry and waffles would have been rare treats reserved for special occasions – a tradition commonly maintained by modern African American food culture as a special Sunday family meal.

The beauty of the dish lies in its versatility.  Another legend from the Wells Supper Club in Harlem spells its origins as a dish served to late night patrons who were too late for dinner but too early for breakfast.  I’ve always been a fan of breakfast for dinner as I love heart breakfast food, but rarely have the time or appetite to make or eat it in the morning.  As I mentioned in my earlier post on Curried French toast, my tolerance for sweet, bready breakfast foods is low, so the savoriness of the fried chicken plays a great foil for the sweeter waffle.  This was my first time making waffles from scratch and I must say they turned out amazing.  The pecans and apricot syrup proved to be a great match for the savoriness of the fried chicken.  This really is a meal that hits all the right spots, any time of day.

Dish: Fried Chicken and Pecan Waffles with Apricot Syrup

Ingredient Roll Call (Serves 4):

Fried Chicken –

  • 4 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water
  • ~1/2 cup all purpose flour, seasoned, for dredging
  • ~1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • enough vegetable/canola oil to coat a medium/large fry pan with ~.5cm layer

Waffles –

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cornmeal (optional)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp granulated or brown sugar (I used 1 tsp of each)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • ~1/3 cup chopped pecans

Apricot Syrup

  • 4 tbsp apricot preserves
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ~1/3 cup water
  • dash of cinnamon

How I do it:

  1. Prepare chicken for frying by dipping in egg wash, then seasoned flour, again in the egg wash, and finally in the breadcrumbs, coating evenly
  2. Prepare waffle batter by combining flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl.  In another bowl whisk together egg yolks, milk and vanilla until combined.  In yet another bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks, add sugar, then whisk again to stiff peaks.  Slowly add milk/egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture, whisking lightly until most big clumps have been eliminated, then stirring in melted butter.  Finally, carefully fold in egg whites making sure not to over-stir.
  3. Prepare syrup by combining preserves, honey, sugar, water, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over high heat.  Mix together and boil for a couple of minutes until sugar is dissolved and liquid reduces to a syrup like consistency.  Set aside to cool.
  4. To make waffles, preheat waffle iron per its directions.  Lightly grease both surfaces with oil or spray and sprinkle a light coating of pecans over lower surface.  Add enough batter to fill lower mold (obviously, this will vary depending on your machine, but is likely between 3/4 cup and 1 1/2 cups per waffle as pictured above).  Cook waffles to preferred doneness, againm per the directions that come with your waffle iron.  I prefer mine dark golden brown with a healthy crisp outside and soft interior.
  5. While waffles are being made, heat oil in large frying pan over medium/medium-high heat.  Fry breaded chicken thighs until golden brown, approximately 4-5 minutes on each side.
  6. Waffles and chicken can be kept warm on a wire rack in a 250 degree oven depending on how quickly they are made.
  7. To serve, butter a waffle, cover in syrup, then fried chicken, and more syrup.  Chow down.
  8. Extra waffles can easily be frozen for later consumption and keep and reheat really well. Just pop them in the toaster like you would a store-bought frozen waffle, except these are, you know, like way better.
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2 Responses to “You never forget your first: Fried Chicken and Pecan Waffles with Apricot Syrup”

  1. Kathy October 13, 2009 at 10:52 AM #

    WANT.

    I still have never experienced the chicken-and-waffle phenomenon, not even the week it was served at the winter market this past winter. (Mark was visiting that weekend, but we didn’t have enough time to sit down and eat.)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Recipe Re(redux): Chicken and Waffles – Indian Style « 43north/89west - March 31, 2010

    […] stuck with the same base waffle recipe from my first crack at the dish (minus the pecans and brown sugar), but added about 3/4 of a […]

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