I’ve been studying Chicken & Waffles and they’re my new fave! The first trace of the American Chicken & Waffles combination appears in Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 1600’s. Much later, it became a soul food-inspired pairing that worked its way to Harlem, New York where Wells Restaurant opened in 1938. Wells became a late night hang out for jazz musicians, who arrived too late for dinner but too early for breakfast. They devoured the appetizing compromise of fried chicken and waffles. In 1976, a Harlem native named Herb Hudson opened a Los Angeles restaurant dedicated exclusively to the pairing: Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. Roscoe’s is so well known that President Obama made an unscheduled stop there in 2011. The singer, Gladys Knight, a patron of the original Wells, started her own chain with gospel singer Ron Winan in 1996—Gladys and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles. Other soul food restaurants featuring chicken and waffles on the menu include Lo-Lo’s in Arizona and Lucky J’s in Texas. Thomas Keller’s famed restaurant Ad Hoc in Napa, Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem who whooped celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a chicken and waffles “Throw down” on Food Network.
INGREDIENTS FOR WAFFLE BATTER
1 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
3/4 c milk, room temperature
1/2 Tbsp vanillaextract INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN 4 chicken tenders or 1 large chicken breast sliced into 4 strips
1 c buttermilk
2 Tbsp paprika
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1/2 c oil for frying
INGREDIENTS FOR (DRY) BATTER
1 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
YOU WILL ALSO NEED 1 ZIPLOCK BAG OR ANY CLEAN PLASTIC BAG AVAILABLE
6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
SYRUP FOR DRIZZLING WHEN SERVED
1. In a clean bowl, add buttermilk, chicken strips, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 hrs. Or overnight.
2. When you are ready to fry the chicken, add the flour, paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper into plastic bag. Mix. With the help of a fork, drop chicken strips into bag, close and mix well until chicken is evenly covered with the flour.
3. Heat frying oil over medium heat.
4. Carefully place each strip into the hot oil and fry on each side until chicken is cooked and outside is golden brown. Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from oil and place on paper towels to remove excess oil.
5. Waffle batter: Mix all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated but do not over mix; a few lumps are OK. Set batter aside. Warm up waffle maker to preferred setting. Remember to spray the waffle maker with oil or butter before pouring batter to avoid waffle from sticking.
6. Cinnamon Vanilla Butter: Add ingredients and whip with fork until well incorporated.
7. To serve, place the waffle on a plate, add two chicken strips, and top with a dollop of butter and a drizzle of syrup. Enjoy!