One little jalapeno plant in my garden has me scrambling for ways to use its bountiful harvest. The plant has been loaded with lovely little peppers for weeks. I start most days with an egg dish with jalapeño peppers. I have made egg tacos with peppers, cheddar cheese omelets with peppers, and scrambled eggs with peppers. Yesterday morning I made waffles with jalapeño peppers, bacon, and onion. It was surprisingly good and got me thinking about the odd combination of chicken and waffles, seen so often on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
After some online research, I decided to create my version of Fried Chicken and Waffles. I am not even going to get involved in the brouhaha surrounding the origin of pairing chicken with waffles. Apparently the south has tried to distance itself from this dish, leading to speculation that it originated in 1930's Harlem, later finding its way to Hollywood in the 1970's. That is all I have to say on that subject, although it might actually spark a comment flurry on my blog. That I would like. I have more important issues to address at the moment, namely a lot of jalapeños to use!
So with my new information about chicken and waffles, I forged ahead with a version that would become the first Buck 'n Run Ranch Signature Dish. My vision of Chicken and Waffles needed a savory, not sweet, waffle. If I was to pour syrup on chicken, it would have to be maple and have a little something extra. My research led me to Emeril's recipe which calls for adding black pepper to the syrup. That sounded like a good plan and I headed in that direction. I actually tried Emeril's Chicken and Waffle recipe but the vanilla was off-putting to me. The texture of the waffle was wrong as well. I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to do it alone!
I started looking for the very best waffle I could find. I tried many, many recipes before getting it right. An old Betty Crocker recipe calls for beating the egg whites and folding them into the batter. I thought that would be the way to go because most of the recipes I tried resulted in dense, heavy waffles. I think the egg white idea was spot on! I practiced making plain waffles. My livestock have been eating waffles for two days. Wanna make your donkeys happy? Give 'em a waffle. Chickens, goats and emus like waffles too. Trust me.
When I found the perfect plain waffle, I added the savory ingredients, onion, jalapeño, and bacon. Once I found the perfect savory waffle, I moved on to the fried chicken. I decided to use boneless chicken breasts with the skin on. I cut the chicken breasts in thirds before seasoning, breading and cooking. I used buttermilk in both the waffle batter and the chicken soak for consistency plus tang. It worked.
And, you know what? My chicken and waffles were good, very good. My waffles were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The chicken was moist and tender with a wonderful buttermilk coating. The cracked-black-pepper-infused maple syrup was the frosting on the cake. Michael and I both enjoyed The Buck 'n Run Ranch Chicken and Waffles. Here's how its done.
For the waffles:
Grab a couple of jalapeño peppers. Mine are turning red and getting sunburned.
Dice them up after coring and seeding. Don't rub your eyes, for a week. 🙂 Now grab a small onion or a quarter of a large onion.
Dice it up too.
Grab three pieces of cooked bacon and chop it up.
Cook the onion and pepper in olive oil until tender. Throw the bacon in to keep them company while you mix up the dry ingredients for the waffles.
Mix the dry ingredients on a large bowl.
Separate two large eggs. Lightly beat the yolks with a fork. Beat the heck out of the whites until they form stiff peaks.
Now watch this little video which also shows the chicken frying. Like you don't know how to fry chicken, right? You can see how thick the waffle batter is but how light and fluffy the waffles are. It is all due to beating the egg whites and folding them in.
Here it is. Buck 'n Run Ranch Signature Chicken and Waffles! Delicious.
- For the chicken:
- 2 large (boneless, chicken breasts, skin on, cut into thirds)
- 2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TBS hot sauce
- 1 ¾ cups flour seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
- Canola oil for frying
- For the waffles:
- 2 TBS canola oil
- 2 jalapeño pepper (finely minced)
- ¼ sweet onion (finely minced)
- 3 strips cook bacon (crumbled)
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 egg separated
- 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
- ½ cup canola oil
- For the syrup:
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- For the chicken:
- Cut the chicken breasts into thirds. Mix the buttermilk, hot sauce and salt in a small bowl. Place the chicken in a zip lock bag or covered container. Pour the butter milk over the chicken. Marinate the chicken in the buttermilk for at least 2 hours. May be done the night before.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees to keep the chicken hot until the waffles are ready.
- Place the seasoned flour in a shallow pan. Pull the chicken breasts from the buttermilk and dredge in the flour mixture. Shake off any excess, then dip the chicken back into the buttermilk and dredge a second time in the flour. IMPORTANT: Do not fry immediately. Place the chicken on a rack and allow the flour to absorb the liquid for at least five minutes. This step will help keep the coating on the chicken and the loose flour from making the oil cloudy.
- Pour canola oil to 1 inch up the side of a tall frying pan. Heat oil to 340-350 degrees, no more! Fry the chicken in the oil until golden brown on both sides and done to a temperature of 165 degrees in the center. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven.
- For the waffles:
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine egg yolks, milk, and oil. mix to combine.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over beat as the whites can become dry. Preheat the waffle iron.
- Pour wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredient mixture and stir/whisk to combine. Mixture will be slightly lumpy. Add the onion, pepper, bacon mixture to the batter including the 2 TBS of oil.
- Carefully fold the egg white mixture into the batter, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Fold the egg whites into the batter until it is light and fluffy.
- Spoon batter on to waffle iron and spread to the edges. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for baking the waffles. I mediately remove the waffle to a warm plate, top with a piece of buttermilk fried chicken, and drizzle with the black pepper infused maple syrup.