Cookin’ Thursday: Chicken ‘n Waffles

Chicken and Waffles. It’s not really something that’s caught on here in Canada, as far as I know. Here in Atlantic Canada, the donair is king of the bar food scene (and will always hold a special place in my heart), but in a lot of States South of here, chicken and waffles are the staple. I got my first bite of one last year on a trip to Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery in Ohio. After some excellent beers at their bar, including Oil of Aphrodite, which, to this day stands as the oiliest (trust me, it’s a good thing) Imperial Stout I’ve ever had, I had to do some sobering up before I hit the road again, so I popped across the street to a window selling chicken and waffles. I had never tried them, but heard good things, threw 5 bucks at the counter-man and accepted a massive chicken-waffle sandwich in return. One bite and I was in bar food heaven. The sweetness, the spiciness, the savoury chicken… man. I couldn’t help but wonder why I’d never seen this offered in Canada. I’ve since then set out to find the best recipe for this delicious treat, and have come pretty close to nailing it. Last night I nailed it.

So let’s start with the chicken. I took some breasts and cut them in half, then marinated in buttermilk and hot sauce. Image

Then I made a batter consisting of flour, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder and salt.Image

Coat your chicken in this, then redip it in the marinade, redip it in the coating, and rack it until you’re ready to fry.

Throw some bacon in a frying pan and cook it while you’re making your waffle batter.

For the waffle batter you can use a standard waffle recipe, but throw a few more ingredients in there so they’re less like desert waffles and more like dinner waffles. I threw cheese and cayenne along with some whole wheat flour for a little more texture.
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Now, if you time it right, if you put your batter on the waffle iron and throw your chicken in the fryer at the same time they should come out at the same time. You’re looking at about 10 minutes to make 4 waffles, and 10 minutes to fry the chicken til golden brown at 350F.
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Once both are done, take your waffles, place a piece of chicken on one, top with the bacon, some cheese (I used jalapeno havarti, just for some extra spice) and throw in the oven a couple minutes to melt the cheese.
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While the cheese is melting you’ll want to make up a quick sauce to top it with. I made mine with some mayo, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and mustard powder. The sauce really makes this dish soar. Remove sandwiches from oven, top with sauce, and voila! Chicken ‘n waffles!
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As far as beer pairings, you’ll probably want something with a bit of sweetness to match up with the sweetness in the dish and a decent malt backbone to tackle the fried chicken. An amber or brown ale would probably work nicely here. You probably don’t want anything too fancy (this is street food, after all), but if you had to, a lighter dubbel might have both the sweetness and body to match the food. A bock or dunkel would probably work very well here too. My stash is dwindling at the moment, but I was able to come up with Granville Island’s Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale, figuring the maple and waffles was a no-brainer. It seemed to work perfectly.
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(sorry, bad res on this last photo)

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