On a very cold, rainy day nothing can warm your heart quite like a bountiful breakfast.
Today, we are pulling out the full gamut of kitchen appliances. We are making ourselves work a little harder, plan a little further, all for the sake of eating a little better.
I do not know about you, but I strolled into this week strong and confident, looking to the depths of my inner boss lady, but Life just was not having that.
Now, I’m back on feet, legs a bit shakier, heart a bit heavier, but still full of much hope and many cravings.
I think we need a meal - the kind of meal that feels as enchanting as a spring brunch date and as comforting as eating cupcakes in bed. Just let it happen. Or rather, make it happen. We can do this.
This chicken and waffles recipe has a lot going for it. It begins with the best fried chicken I have ever tasted. The brining process results in the most mouthwatering chicken that is permeated with flavor which goes beyond that golden, crispy, crust. I discovered this recipe several years ago when flipping through this book. I do not care about any other fried chicken recipe, because I believe with all of my heart that this is the best. I really do.
It means brining, dredging, and frying, but it is all worth it and that is how we know it is good.
Next, we have waffles. These waffles were last spring’s project. Many, many, many tests went into creating what is to me, the perfect waffle. It is crisp, sweet, airy, and buttery. It makes me happy in the way that only carbs can. I think you will like it.
Lastly, we have a condiment. Would this recipe really be complete without one?
This particular condiment is a sweet and spicy hot honey butter which we will slather on our waffles just before drenching this plate with maple syrup.
This recipe is a lesson in patience, self-care, and indulgence.
It is my very best version of chicken and waffles, and I made it just for you!
It’s dinner. It’s breakfast. It’s definitely brunch. It’s an edible hug. Gosh, we live in a wonderful world.
I hope you take time to make something extra special this week. Enjoy the process, and enjoy the fruits of the process (that’s the best part).
CHICKEN & WAFFLES with HOT HONEY BUTTER
FOR THE CHICKEN
recipe adapted from The Southerner’s Cookbook
Cook’s Note: I always prefer to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs when I am making fried chicken, for a couple of reasons. One, thighs are just an all-around winner. They are more flavorful, more moist, and they also cook faster than chicken breasts, due to their size. This allows the chicken to cook all the way through without us needing to worry about over-browning our lovely crispy crust, and protects us from the dreaded dry fried chicken. Long live the chicken thigh!
for the brine
2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, about four thighs
1 gallon filtered water, cold
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
dip, dredge, and frying
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
vegetable oil, for frying
The night before you plan on frying the chicken, make the brine.
Place four cups of water in a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in kosher salt and poultry seasoning until all of the salt has dissolved.
Pour the mixture into a large stockpot and stir in remaining water. Once the brine is cool, drop in chicken thighs and cover. Refrigerate overnight, or for a minimum of four hours.
The following day, make the dip by combining buttermilk and hot sauce in a pie dish. Whisk together flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a large, shallow bowl.
Cook’s Note: Before frying the chicken, make your waffles. The waffles can stay warm and crisp in the oven while the chicken fries.
Pour oil into an electric fryer or dutch oven and heat to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with several layers of paper towels and top with a cooling rack. This will be our frying station.
Rinse chicken thighs under cold water to remove any remaining brine and poultry seasoning. Dip each piece of chicken into the buttermilk, then dip into the flour mixture. Shake to remove any excess flour and place in the oil, cooking two pieces at a time.
Cook for 5-8 minutes on each side, until very crisp and deep golden in color. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken - it should register at 165 degrees F.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the hot honey butter.
Transfer the cooked chicken to the prepared cooling station. Allow the oil to come back up to temperature before dropping in the remaining chicken.
FOR THE WAFFLES
makes eight waffles
Cook’s Note: This recipe is designed for a thin, crisp waffle, so while it will translate to various shapes/sizes of waffles, the number yielded and the texture may vary.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Plug in your electric waffle maker and set to the highest heat. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cook’s Note: I really like a thin, crisp waffle. This model is very similar to the model I have.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour. baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Place egg whites into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside for now.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until a smooth batter forms.
Add one third of the beaten egg whites into the batter and use a spatula to quickly mix the whites into the batter. Add a second third of egg whites and fold in a little more gently. With the third addition of whites, work very carefully, folding the whites very softly and slowly into the batter.
Coat your waffle maker with nonstick spray and place about 1/3 cup of batter into the center. Close the waffle maker and cook until very crisp. Turn the waffle out unto the prepared baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the oven to keep the waffles warm while you cook the remaining batter.
FOR THE HOT HONEY BUTTER
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup clover honey
2 tablespoons hot sauce (we like Frank’s)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter and honey. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Mix in hot sauce and salt and beat until smooth.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
hot honey butter
Spread a thick layer of prepared honey honey butter over the warm waffles. Place two waffles on each plate and top with fried chicken. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve immediately. Preferably with plentiful coffee and orange juice. Enjoy!