Some of my favorite dishes are often a combination of meals, like having pancakes for dinner or cold pizza for breakfast. I know, rule breaker, but I don’t think any rules apply to meals anymore. Even the names of meals change with your area code; what we consider dinner here in Nevada is called supper in the Midwest. Combining traditional dinner and breakfast foods together in one meal may seem against the rules, but the sweet flavors of breakfast with the savory flavors of dinner combine perfectly.
Today’s recipe is a great example of the delicious mixture of these flavors: sweet, fluffy waffles with salty, savory chicken, perfect for breakfast, lunch, or supper — I mean dinner.
Chicken and waffles has a bit of a history in the United States. This sweet and savory combination goes back to the Pennsylvania Dutch who had their own version of chicken and waffles. They started with boiled chicken and made a creamy gravy from the broth. They would then pile the chicken on the waffle and pour the gravy over the top ... delicious comfort food.
In the Southern states it has become a staple on a lot of menus, and for good reason — they have some of the best recipes. Waffles in the United States were said to be introduced by the pilgrims from Holland, but Thomas Jefferson reenergized the American waffle craze with a waffle iron brought back from one of his trips to France.
In 1964, Belgium waffles were introduced to Americans at the world’s fair. Made with yeast and egg whites, they were fluffier with a larger cross pattern which held all the more gravy or butter.
The American version originally made with just flour and water is now made with baking additives like baking soda to also make the waffle fluffier.
The chicken is best prepared like Southern fried chicken recipes: dredged in buttermilk, flour, and seasoning mixture to give the chicken a crispy, salty, delicious crust that pairs perfectly with the sweet, fluffy waffle and syrup. Mmmmm.
For this recipe, I’m suggesting to use boneless skinless chicken breasts for ease.
Chicken and waffles
For the chicken:
4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast. Smaller pieces are better.
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2-3 cups vegetable oil
2 cups buttermilk
First, get your chicken breast soaking in the buttermilk. In a glass bowl or Ziploc bag, combine the chicken and buttermilk; make sure to cover generously. Let soak for one hour minimum or overnight for best results.
Crack eggs into bowl and whisk. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
Take the chicken from the buttermilk and dredge it in the seasoned flour mixture, then dip it in the egg and back to the dry seasoned flour mixture.
Time to fry! Preheat oil to 325 degrees. Gently add the chicken to the hot oil and cook approximately 6 to 8 minutes each side until golden brown, or until a 165-degree internal temperature is reached.
Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
For the waffles:
You can work as hard as you want to make the perfect waffle batter, but the premixed waffle mixtures are good and easy to make. I suggest to use your favorite recipe and be sure to make a few extra for the next morning.
Place a pat of butter and your favorite syrup over your hot waffle.
Place the chicken on the waffle and top it with a dusting of powdered sugar. Make sure to have a bite with all the ingredients. It’s salty and sweet, great for any meal! Enjoy!
David Theiss is the owner of Butler Gourmet Meats, serving Carson City since 1973.