So, what’s so good about chicken and waffles? Well, first of all……..fried chicken! I mean seriously, is there anybody out there that doesn’t like fried chicken? Then there’s waffles, and butter and syrup. I mean, come on! You’ve got the whole sweet and savory thing going on, on the same plate. What’s better than that? I’ll tell you what’s better than that! Sweet, savory and spicy, that’s what! Leave it to this Texas gal to add some butt kick heat to a traditionally, somewhat bland, dare I say, Yankee originating comfort food!
Yeah, I said it! Ok, so get over it! The Yankee version IS bland in my humble opinion. And, while plenty of Southerners would just love to take credit for the current chicken and waffles craze, it didn’t happen down there. Nope! We have the African-American community from 1930’s Harlem to thank for this wonderful soul food! As a matter of fact, a recipe for the combination of chicken and waffles doesn’t appear in a single early Southern cookbook!
Now, there is plenty of speculation as to where chicken and waffles originated. Some even give credit to ‘ole Thomas Jefferson since he brought back the first waffle iron from France. Well, I think TJ gets plenty of credit for other things, so let’s just leave that alone. The Pennsylvania Dutch and other European colonists are credited for waffles, so there’s their contribution and the South was known for wringing a chicken’s neck and frying it up for breakfast just as readily as for lunch or supper. However, while many want to claim the dish, the modern variation can be traced back to the African-American diners and supper clubs of early 20th century Harlem.
My variation is a spicy take on traditional chicken and waffles. Chicken and waffles has spread throughout the South and across the country taking on regional characteristics along the way. I have used yellow cornmeal in the waffles to add texture and to add a decidedly Texas twist.
Although the addition of jalapenos in the waffle batter may seem too spicy, it’s just enough. The sriracha and red pepper flake laced maple syrup may be a little too hot for some. Feel free to cut the sriracha and the red pepper flakes in half, taste, and adjust to your liking! The maple syrup butter adds just the right amount of sweet to the savory waffles and fried chicken.
I’ve given you precise frying temperatures for frying your chicken. But, if you’re like me and are used to frying chicken, you pretty much know how to do it right. An iron skillet is best, but any heavy frying skillet or Dutch oven will do.
Also, although the ingredient list is long, you can make the waffle batter ahead of time and refrigerate. You can also make the maple butter, sriracha syrup and the dredging mixture in advance as well. Once the prep is over, it’s really a pretty simple dish to pull off! And, if you think it’s too much to tackle, you can always buy frozen waffles and maybe try the jalapeno cornmeal waffles the next time. But, of course, it’s best to make the dish as written here.
Now, what to do with the leftovers? Heat the fried chicken and waffles up in the toaster oven, put a soft fried egg and cheese on top and serve for breakfast the next morning, silly!
Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Jalapeno Cornmeal Waffles with Maple Butter and Sriracha Maple Syrup
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
Jalapeno Cornmeal Waffles
Yield: 6 – 7inch round waffles
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, whisked
4 green onions, thinly chopped, green tops and all
2 tablespoons finely diced jalapenos
- Heat the waffle iron according to directions. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly.
- Add the melted butter, buttermilk and eggs. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated into a smooth batter.
- Spoon approximately 2/3 cup of batter onto waffle iron. Close lid.
- Cook waffles and place in the oven or toaster oven on 200° to keep warm.
Meanwhile, make syrup by mixing 1 cup of pure maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of sriracha and 2 teaspoons of red pepper chili flakes. Set aside.
Make the maple syrup butter by softening 4 tablespoons of butter and mixing with 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. Place back in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Yield: 6 breast strips and 6 thighs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil or shortening
Bacon drippings (if using)
- Mix the flour and the next 5 ingredients together to make a dredge for the chicken.
- Heat vegetable oil/shortening and bacon drippings (I use half shortening and half bacon drippings) to a depth of 1-inch in a large iron skillet on medium-high heat. Oil should be between 350° and 375°.
- Dredge each piece of chicken in the dry mix. Dip into the buttermilk, then dredge once more.
- Carefully place each piece into the hot oil. The temperature will drop when you add the chicken. Keep it at 300° to 325° while the chicken fries.
- Fry the chicken in batches until the pieces are brown on one side. Carefully turn with tongs and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
- To serve, place a waffle, slathered with maple butter, topped with one half chicken breast and one chicken thigh on each plate. Drizzle with sriracha maple syrup.
I hope y’all enjoy this recipe as much as we do! It is one of our favorites! Happy Cooking!