the holy grail of comfort food … chicken and waffles

Just when you think that you can’t take anymore and it’s only Monday, comfort food steps in to save the day. It wraps you in a blanket of sweet, salty, fatty goodness and magically you feel like yourself again. Despite my love for many other dishes from the comfort food category that have saved my life in the past like spaghetti and meatballs or macaroni and cheese, chicken and waffles may just be the pinnacle of comfort food.

Before Monday, I’d never eaten chicken and waffles. To be honest, I was a bit worried about the co-mingleing of syrup and gravy – worried that maybe syrup plus gravy might just push the symbiosis between sweet and salty over the edge. Well, I was dead wrong. Sticky, sweet syrup, and salty, meaty gravy both poured over crunchy chicken and waffles is beyond amazing. I was floored by how well each piece of this dish worked with the other components. A-MAZ-ING. So wonderful you probably should make this for dinner tonight. Your happy mind and belly will thank you for it.

Chicken and Waffles

For the chicken
I used the buttermilk baked chicken recipe that I describe a week or so ago. It worked perfectly and since it is oven baked you don’t have to worry about dealing with frying and waffle-making at once. The chicken will take about 20 minutes to bake, so put it in the oven after you’ve made the gravy.

For the gravy
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/4 cup – 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, lemon peel

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and continue whisking until it is a blonde color. Slowly add the broth, whisking furiously to make sure that there aren’t any lumps. Reduce the heat to low. Season with salt and pepper. Add a sprig of rosemary, thyme and a sliver of lemon peel to the mixture. Turn off the heat. Get to waffle making.

For the waffles
I used a buttermilk pancake recipe for these waffles. The taste was wonderful, but they did not rise as much as I had hoped in the waffle iron. If you have a no-fail waffle recipe, use that instead (and email it to me).

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Mix the dry ingredients to combine. Add the buttermik, eggs and melted butter. Mix just to combine. There will be lumps in the batter. This is good and makes for a fluffy pancake or waffle. Make your waffles. As they come off the waffle iron, put them on a baking sheet and store in the oven to keep warm.

For the syrup
We buy Whole Foods 365 brand pure maple syrup. It is delicious, affordable and free of high-fructose corn syrup.

To serve

As you are finishing with the waffles, turn the heat below the gravy on to low. Warm the gravy and remove the herbs and lemon.

Place a waffle on a plate. Top with a piece of buttermilk chicken. Drizzle everything with gravy and syrup.

To fully maximize your chicken and waffle experience, I recommend you eat as many bites as possible with all four components. Admittedly, this method is more work, but it is worth it.