Chicken and waffles is the solution to the perennial brunch dilemma: sweet or savory? One story claims this combination was created to cater to late-night eaters as a compromise between dinner and breakfast. Regardless of the dish’s origin, everyone can find something to love in the mouthwatering mix of flavors and textures.
Golden Cornmeal Waffles with Fried Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz. (185 g)
2/3 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) plus 3/4 cup (4 oz./125 g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 2/3 cups (21 fl. oz./660 ml) buttermilk
Canola oil for deep-frying
1 1⁄2 cups (10 1/2 oz./330 g) yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, melted, plus room temperature butter for serving
2 eggs, separated
1 cup (6 oz./185 g) fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
Honey or maple syrup for serving
Hot pepper sauce for serving
Using a flat meat pounder, pound each chicken breast half until flattened to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch (12 mm). Have ready a rimmed baking sheet.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. of the baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper until combined. Pour 2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) of the buttermilk into a second shallow bowl. Working with one breast at a time, dip the chicken into the buttermilk, letting the excess liquid drip back into the bowl, then coat the chicken with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Transfer to the baking sheet.
Set a wire rack on another rimmed baking sheet and place near the stove. Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C). Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch (12 mm) into a large cast iron or other heavy fry pan and heat over high heat to 375°F (190°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. In batches if necessary, add the chicken pieces and cook, turning once, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165°F (74°C), about 8 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed so the oil stays at 375°F. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to the rack to drain. Keep warm in the oven.
While the chicken is frying, make the waffles. Have ready a third rimmed baking sheet. Preheat a waffle iron on medium-high heat.
In a bowl, sift together the 3/4 cup flour, the cornmeal, sugar, the remaining 2 tsp. baking powder, the baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) buttermilk with the melted butter and egg yolks. Add to the cornmeal mixture and stir just until combined (the batter will be lumpy). In a small bowl, using a clean whisk or a handheld mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Scoop the whites over the batter and, using the whisk, gently fold them in evenly. Fold in the corn. The finished batter may retain a few small lumps.
If your waffle iron is not nonstick, lightly oil the grid. Ladle some of the batter onto the grid, close the lid and cook until the waffle is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve the chicken and waffles piping hot with butter, honey and hot pepper sauce passed on the side. Serves 4.
Find more great recipes for sunrise specialties in our book
Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts, by Rick Rodgers.