Chicken and Waffles is a meal I have been sceptical of for a while, but Hubby always assured me was delicious. As far as I have always been concerned, waffles are a breakfast food (or at a push, a breakfast-for-dinner food). For his birthday dinner this year though, I agreed to try it out, and I was surprised at how well it worked. The waffles and the chicken were made using whey (as ever my cheese making experiments had left me with some), and on the side we had coleslaw from the Thug Kitchen cookbook. I also made mayo to go with it all using a herby white wine vinegar. Everything played together surprisingly well, and even more surprisingly, it also played well with a little drizzle of maple syrup. The fried chicken was pre-cooked in the oven a little as it was all leg meat on the bone, and we didn't do a batter but a crust for the chicken. I also found out that this is traditional both in the South of the US and in Amish country, interestingly.
For the Waffles:
3 c waffles
2 tbsp baking powder
4 tsp sugar
2 c whey (or milk)
4 eggs, separated
3/4 c melted butter
For the Fried Chicken:
4 chicken legs, separated at the joint into thighs and drumsticks
5 c whey
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp vinegar
1 1/4 c flour
2 tbsp corn meal
1 tbsp nigella seeds
2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp lime zest
Oil for frying
For the mayo:
1 egg yolk
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 - 2 tbsp herby white wine vinegar
Salt or Season-all to taste
NB You can prep the waffles and mayo ahead of time.
1) For the mayo: place the egg yolk in a bowl and begin whisking. Drop by drop add the oil, whisking all the while. When you have added half the oil, you can speed up and pour it in a little faster, but keep whisking. If it looks like the egg yolk and the oil aren't forming a smooth emulsion and coming together as you'd like, STOP adding oil and whisk until it does come together before adding more. You can add a few drops of ice cold water to help it emulsify. Once you've added the oil, or even before you've added it all if the mayo is getting too stiff, add the vinegar and salt to taste. If you have the taste you want but the mayo is still a little stiff, add a little water. Set aside in fridge until later (or do what I did and whip it up furiously as everything else is being plated, but I don't recommend it).
2) For the waffles: Mix dry ingredients together then gradually add the wet ingredients except for the egg whites. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks then fold them gently into the batter. Heat the waffle iron (ungreased) and place about 1-2 tbsp of batter in the middle. Close it and wait a couple of minutes. When done, remove and repeat the process. We made these earlier in the day and then popped them briefly back into the iron to warm them up as needed at dinner.
3) For the Chicken: Place the chicken and the whey in a large bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge to soak for at least 2 hours before cooking. Preheat the oven to 170°C and place the chicken in a covered oven proof dish in the oven for 20-30 minutes until it is most of the way cooked.
4) Mix the egg, vinegar, turmeric together and place in a shallow dish. Mix the flour, cornmeal, oregano, nigella seeds and lime zest. One by one, dip the pieces of chicken into the egg mixture and then into the flour mixture, making sure to coat all over.
5) Heat oil in a skillet until shimmering. Place 4 pieces of chicken in the pan. Cover for five minutes, then when the chicken is turning golden brown, turn and cover again for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and crispy on the outside.
6) Drain the chicken on some paper towel then plate up, with some waffles and a little of the other components.
I was surprised at how much I liked this. I initially tried it all savoury, spreading the mayo on the waffles and piling on some coleslaw before topping it off with chicken. Without the savoury components though, with just buttered waffles, chicken and a drizzle of maple syrup there was something missing. Surprisingly putting it all together worked! Not something to be had every day, or even every week, and not for a week day meal unless there is a special occasion, but it will be revisited!