It sounds like an unlikely and odd combination to the uninitiated but once you’ve tried it, you will understand the appeal of this culinary dynamic duo. Think about a delectable union of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy, hot sauce and maple syrup and yup… chicken. The first question most people ask is ‘why’? Who thought this was good idea? Well, there is some interesting history behind this dish.The Pilgrims are responsible for bringing waffles to America in 1620 after discovering them during their brief stop in Holland and at the 1964 World’s Fair, Americans were introduced to the fluffy Belgian waffle which became wildly popular. Fried chicken, or fricassee, has been around since the 1500’s. The earliest chicken and waffle combination appears in Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 1600’s, but it was the decidedly soul food approach to the pairing which worked its way into popular culture with the opening of Wells Supper Club in Harlem, New York in 1938. ‘Wells’ was a late night hotspot for jazz musicians, who would stop by after finishing their gigs. The musicians, arriving too late for dinner but too early for breakfast, enjoyed the appetizing compromise of fried chicken and waffles. Before long, Wells was frequented by the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole and Aretha Franklin. Today chicken and waffles can be found from fine dining Michelin star restaurants to food trucks coast to coast. So tuck in and enjoy this delicious pairing, then you will know the answer to ‘why’.
Chicken : 2 pounds chicken tenders
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup Panko crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Walnuts for garnish (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
Frozen Belgian waffles or make your favourite waffle recipe
Hot Sauce Syrup
2/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoon butter, melted
3 teaspoons hot sauce
Mix together buttermilk and hot sauce in a shallow bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Remove chicken from buttermilk and whisk egg into buttermilk. Return chicken to buttermilk and stir to coat.
In a pie plate, combine Panko crumbs, flour, salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and white pepper.
Pour about 2 inches of oil into a cast iron pan or a Dutch oven. Heat oil to 375 degrees.
Remove chicken tenders from buttermilk mixture and coat in Panko mixture. Fry in oil for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
Toast waffles if using frozen
Whisk together maple syrup, butter, and hot sauce in a small bowl.
- To assemble lay waffle on plate, top with chicken, smother with hot maple syrup over the whole thing, if using, top with walnuts and sprinkle with powdered sugar…. yum.
Pair up with a rich, creamy Porter.