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Richard Rudisill

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Trend or Treat- the ultimate brunchfast

Posted: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

Chef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including designing and developing his all-grilled restaurant concepts, a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers and competed in the Iron Fork competition both years. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season.For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple approach directed toward the home-cook/viewer.His feature on Rising began in August of 2007, and since has become the most anticipated part of the show. During that time Troy has prepare over one thousand of his creative original recipes live on-air and has made several cooking appearances on the night time show, WCCB News Edge. Chef Troy teamed up with The Fresh Market as a sponsor for “Troy’s Everyday Eats" in April of 2011. Troy shops each week at The Fresh Market for the ingredients used on the show, he says, "The Fresh Market sponsorship is something I have pursued for a long time. I love shopping at their markets because everything is always so fresh. They have a large variety of organic and sustainable food options. As a consumer and chef, I couldn't ask for anything more". Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

Not being one to get caught up in popular food trends, I have to say chicken and waffles is one that I truly adore. What is not to like about crispy fried chicken on a slightly sweet waffle and smoothed with warm creamy gravy? Well, nothing! It could possibly be one of the best combination is the entire culinary world.

Chicken and waffles is a “love it” or “hate it” kind of dish, and it brings on much debate as it did in the WCCB Rising kitchen this past week during my “Tuesdays with Troy” show. One crew member stepped into the kitchen and said “Man I love chicken and waffles, I had some in Atlanta not too long ago for the first time and they were amazing.” Only minutes later an administrative person came in and asked, “Why in the world would you want fried chicken with waffles, gross!”

Ok, so, chicken and waffles is not for everyone. Or are they? The thing with preparing your own food, at home, for yourself; is that you can make it just the way you like it. You have control over what goes into a particular dish and what stays out.

For me, I am not crazy about something overly sweet, as in dessert sweet, for lunch or dinner; or for that matter breakfast either. Now if you do, knock yourself out and go crazy, just remember too much of anything usually doesn’t bode well when putting food together. Well, unless it is bacon...

For this version, I cut back on the sugar content in a basic waffle batter to go for a more savory waffle. Adding sharp cheddar cheese and poblano peppers to the batter did just the trick. The cheese got into its melty mode and made the waffle creamy on the inside and the crispy burnt edges on the outside were the perfect contrast.

The diced poblano peppers add a small amount of heat to balance out the sweetness from the sugar in the waffle batter. As the waffle is cooking the peppers are steamed and permeate throughout the entire waffle. Add perfectly fried chicken to the top and smoother with this smoked bacon maple gravy and you have something that will forever change your thinking about chicken and waffles.

Fried Chicken & Green Chili-Cheddar Waffles with Smoked Bacon Maple Gravy

Waffle

• 2 Cups-All Purpose Flour
• ½ Teaspoon-Baking Soda
• 2 Teaspoons-Baking Powder
• 2 Tablespoons-Granulated Sugar
• 3 Each-Eggs-beaten
• ½ Stick-Unsalted Butter-melted
• 2 Cups-Buttermilk-room temperature
• ¼ Cup-Poblano Pepper-stem/seeds removed, fine diced
• ½ Cup-Cheddar Cheese-shredded

Chicken

• 6 Each-Chicken Thighs-bone removed
• 2 Cups-Buttermilk
• 3 Tablespoons-Tabasco Hot Sauce
• To Taste-Chef Troy’s Spice Mix
• To Dredge-All Purpose Flour
• 1 Quart-Corn Oil

Gravy

• 6 Strips-Smoked Bacon-sliced into thin strips, cooked, drained, reserve bacon drippings
• 3 Tablespoons-All Purpose Flour
• 2 ½ Cups-Milk
• To Taste-Salt/Pepper
• 2 Tablespoons-Maple Syrup

Directions

1. Place buttermilk/Tabasco in a bowl/zip bag and combine.
2. Add chicken, message marinade into chicken and refrigerate for 24 hours.
3. Place 3 tablespoons of reserved bacon drippings in an iron skillet over medium heat and add flour.
4. Combine drippings/flour and cook stirring frequently for at least one minute.
5. Slow begin adding milk in small batches, whisking to combine.
6. Continue adding and whisking until all milk has been incorporated.
7. Season with salt/pepper to taste, add maple syrup and lower heat to keep warm.
8. If gravy is too thick add small increment of milk to preferred consistency.
9. Warm waffle iron according to instructions.
10. For waffle combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar.
11. In a separate bowl combine eggs, butter and buttermilk.
12. Add poblano, cheddar to dry ingredients and combine.
13. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix to combine.
14. Allow mixture to rest at least five minutes.
15. Preheat oil in a deep fat fryer or large pot fitted with thermometer, fill oil only half way.
16. Begin to ladle waffle batter into waffle iron with recommend amount, cook until golden brown on both sides.
17. When waffle can be removed easily place in a 175 degree oven to keep warm.
18. Drain chicken, season with spice mix and begin frying until cooked through and golden brown, 10-12 minutes.
19. Check gravy consistency and correct if needed with a splash of milk.
20. To serve, place waffle on individual plates, top with fried chicken, drizzle with gravy and garnish with bacon.

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