One of my most treasured cookbooks to date is Bobby Flay’s Throwdown mainly because I recently got it signed from Mr. Bobby Flay himself during his book tour at Williams-Sonoma and because he’s my chef-IDOL! Perusing through this cookbook reminded me of so many infamous Throwdown episodes and I drooled over the fried chicken and waffles section. The winning recipe from Melba Wilson – Southern fried chicken and eggnog waffles sounds like an odd combination but breakfast and dinner food groups mixed together make one ultimate meal. It is one of those comfort food dishes that are sooooo tasty and delicious.
One of our first experiences tasting fried chicken and waffles is from Roscoes House of Chicken and Waffles in Long Beach. It’s like a college rite of passage with my friends and I remember many late night outings for some tasty food from Roscoes. You can give me the sideways look to say “why haven’t I had this wacky combination?” or “strange bug eye crazed look.” Who does not love succulent and extra crispy chicken and sweet buttery waffles? (Raises her hand in the air, screaming this girl does!!) It’s absolutely sinful and definitely a sweet and savory kind of meal. Go ahead and do yourself a favor and make this southern treat. Melba Wilson’s southern fried chicken is definitely a winner in my book and it is finger licking good. But trust me you won’t need to lick the oil on your fingers because there is none. Fluffy, pillowy eggnog waffles lightly covered in strawberry butter and maple syrup paired with chicken that is so crispy, well seasoned & juicy on the inside. It’s the ultimate comfort food combination (drool).
Melba’s Southern Fried Chicken and Eggnog Waffles
Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Throwdown
For the chicken: 3 pounds of chicken legs and thighs 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon brown mustard 2 cups buttermilk Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying 2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Complete Seasoning
For the eggnog waffles: 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted 2 teaspoons baking powder Pinch of ground cinnamon Pinch of ground nutmeg 2 cups eggnog 2 large eggs, separated 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted Cooking spray, for the waffle iron
Strawberry Butter (recipe follows), for serving
Maple syrup, for serving
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 4 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 3/4 cup) A few drops of grenadine syrup
In a small mixing bowl, add all the spices and mix together. Place the chicken pieces in a large Pyrex bowl and sprinkle with the seasoning. Add the mustard and use your hands to completely cover the chicken. Pour in the buttermilk, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
In a large dutch oven, add 3 inches of vegetable oil and heat it until it reads 325 degrees over medium heat. Make sure you have a candy thermometer to watch the temperature. In a brown paper bag, combine the flour and complete seasoning. Add a few pieces of chicken at a time and shake it up – and shake off the excess flour. Working in batches, fry the chicken until it is golden brown and crispy on one side for about 15 minutes. Make sure and check the temperature of the chicken that it reads 160 degrees. Place cooked chicken on a plate lined with paper towels.
After all your chicken has been fried, make your waffles. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk the eggnog, egg yolks, and butter in a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup. Slowly stir wet ingredients into the dry until combined, be careful to not over mix – lumpy batter is good. In the bowl of the KA mixer or using a mixer, whisk the egg whites until almost stiff and gently fold them into the waffle batter. Heat a waffle iron. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour some of the batter into the middle of the iron, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Close and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter. Top the waffles with fried chicken, strawberry butter, and maple syrup.
For the strawberry butter, put the butter in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and blend until smooth. Add the berries and grenadine and pulse until combined, but with small pieces of berry still visible.
Review: There are food combinations that belong together like peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, burgers and fries and chicken and waffles is another match made in foodie heaven. Lorenzo said this was the best fried chicken he has ever had, and although it took a little bit of effort and a mess in my kitchen…it was WORTH IT! I do recommend frying the chicken first in several batches until they are all done, and then making your batch of waffles. Letting the chicken rest allows it to cool down and lock in that juicy tangy flavor from the buttermilk and spices. Strawberry butter was pretty colorful, but I prefer traditional waffles than the eggnog waffles.