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
½ Stick-Unsalted Butter-melted
2 Cups-Buttermilk-room temperature
¼ Cup-Poblano Pepper-stem/seeds removed, fine diced
½ Cup-Cheddar Cheese-shreddedChicken 6 Each-Chicken Thighs-bone removed
3 Tablespoons-Tabasco Hot Sauce
To Taste-Chef Troy’s Spice Mix
To Dredge-All Purpose Flour
1 Quart-Corn OilGravy 6 Strips-Smoked Bacon-sliced into thin strips, cooked, drained, reserve bacon drippings
3 Tablespoons-All Purpose Flour
2 ½ Cups-Milk
2 Tablespoons-Maple SyrupDirections1. 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.