Fulfilling My Friend’s Craving: Oven Fried Chicken and Waffles
I’ve started to notice that the conversations I have with my friends often end with food; usually it is one of us trying to make the other jealous with what we’re eating, asking what we should have for dinner or sharing food porn pictures. The result of these banters is usually an insane craving for whatever we were just talking about. I have absolutely no idea how this topic came up but one of my good friends, Anna, asked me what my last supper would be. I quickly answered with an extravagant 5 course menu, which having said it out loud just made me sound pretentious and realize that it needs a bit of revision. Anna, on the other hand, replied with a short list of delicious comfort foods that is close to her heart. The one that stuck out to me was Fried Chicken and Biscuits, my mouth immediately started to water and memories of my first Fried Chicken and Waffle started to flood my thoughts.
My first fried chicken and waffle was from this shack on the side of the highway on the drive back from Rehoboth Beach. It barely had a sign out front, there were 3 picnic tables set up and my meal was served in a brown bag. Even though I have never been able to find the “restaurant” again, I still dream about the crispy-juicy fried chicken, and thick-fluffy waffles. The skin of the chicken was so crispy that when you bite down I’m almost positive that people next to me can hear the crunch and the meat was perfectly tender and juicy. The waffle was light and airy, unlike the dense and heavy ones we are accustomed to. Now when the Fried chicken and waffles are this good I usually omit the syrup, but I couldn’t help myself but to pour a glug-ful over my last bite, and it was heavenly.
I wanted to share my experience with my friend, Anna, I know it wasn’t going to be the same as fried chicken and biscuits but it was close enough and I needed to satisfy MY craving too, right!? So I set out to find the perfect fried chicken and waffles recipe that would come close to what I had. I have been hearing for some time that Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc serves the best Fried Chicken and Waffles, after doing some research I concluded that the chicken must be soaked in a brine overnight to gain even more flavor and to maintain its juiciness after the cooking process. It also needs to undergo a double dredging to get that super crispy skin. I also baked the “fried” chicken, I know it is not the same and I may be bastardizing the traditional fried chicken but I wanted to prove oven baked can be almost if not just as good as fried and it’s healthier.
The traditional waffle batter is just a thicker version of a pancake batter, usually you mix the eggs, butter and buttermilk and add to the dry ingredients. I have found that that results in a denser waffle, so I took the extra step and separated the eggs. The egg yolks are first mixed in the with wet ingredients, added to the dry ingredients, then the egg whites are whisked until it forms stiff peaks and folded into the batter. This will unsure a light, airy and perfectly fluffy waffle! The fried chicken has such a crispy and firm texture already that you really want the waffle to have a contrasting texture. Seriously, try it out I promise you wont regret the few extra steps!!
Oven Fried Chicken
adapted from momofukufor2
makes 8 pieces
1/2 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/8 cup honey
6 bay leaves
1/2 head of garlic, cut horizontally
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1/4 of a bunch of thyme sprigs
1/4 of a bunch of flat leafed parsley sprigs
Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cayenne
3 teasp kosher salt
1 teasp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups buttermilk
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
3 cups canola oil for frying
1. For the brine: combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using.
2. Rinse the chickens and place the chickens in the cold brine and refrigerate overnight or for up to 12 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse and pat the chickens dry, removing any herbs or spices sticking to the skin. Let the chickens come to room temperature outside of the fridge, 1-2 hours.
3. Mix the coating ingredients together in a bowl, transfer half to brown paper bag and set up a dipping station: chicken, coating, buttermilk, paper bag of coating, cooling rack.
4. Dip each piece of chicken into the coating, patting off the excess, then into the buttermilk and into the paper bag coating. Shake to coat the chicken, place the chicken on a cooling rack.
5. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then take the chicken out of the oven and brush with oil and put them back in oven to cook for another 20 minutes.
6. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes to redistribute its juices and cool slightly.
7. While the chicken rests, heat the oil in a sauce pan on medium low heat to 300 degrees F and add the parsley leaves to the hot oil and let them cook and crisp for a few seconds. Remove the parsley, put them on paper towels to drain the excess oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
adapted from sugar crafter
makes 8 waffles
3 large eggs, separated
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 teasp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teasp baking powder
1 teasp baking soda
1/2 teasp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1. Preheat the waffle maker to medium-high heat, and preheat your oven to 200 degrees (for keeping the cooked waffles warm). In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until well-blended.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
3. Add the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth, do not over mix. In another bowl, whisk the egg white until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
4. Using a soup ladle, spoon a ladle full of batter into the waffle maker and close the lid. Cook until light golden brown about 5-6 minutes. Repeat until you run out of batter. Transfer the finished waffles to a cool rack stacked on to baking sheet, and place them in the oven to keep warm until you are ready to serve them.
To assemble the Chicken & Waffles: starting with the waffles, stack a piece of chicken on top of the waffle then garnish with the fried parsley.
Luckily for Anna, I was smart enough to set aside a separate portion before my friends and family demolished the 2 large batches I had made. I brought it over to her house the day after it was made and to my surprise even after reheating in the oven the chicken remained crispy and still juicy and the waffles maintained it’s bite! I watched as Anna dove into her share, of course I quickly asked her what she thought. And after a long pause after her first bite, I saw the biggest smile and that’s all the answer I needed.
Cheers and until next time happy brunchin’
P.S- Since I was posed this question I would love to know what YOUR last supper would be?