Chicken and waffles! This classic soul food combination could now be made in my home since I purchased a waffle iron in Hong Kong, a small stove top model that doesn’t take up any counter space. To avoid actual frying of the chicken, I looked towards an oven baked recipe. Amanda Hesser’s recipe for her mother Judy Hesser’s oven fried chicken had been on my to-cook list for ages and a craving for fried chicken and waffles had me finally try it out. It looked easy enough but what’s fried chicken without a cold buttermilk soak and so I adapted the recipe to include that. The result was delicious, moist on the inside, ‘fried’ chicken. It’ll never make up for proper fried chicken but it came close.
Who was the first person to pair fried chicken and waffles though? There’s no one story on the Wikipedia entry but whoever it was, I tip my hat to them. A bite of salty, savoury chicken and then a forkful of waffle dripping with melted butter and maple syrup…well, I’ll just leave it at that.
The waffles. Oh, the waffles! I’ve made them more than once now. They are ridiculously simple and live up to their name of Insane Greatness. Do make them if you have a waffle iron. My cheap waffle iron meant that my waffles were not the most evenly cooked but they were still so good with crisp surfaces. Then yes, pair them with this chicken.
Oven Fried Chicken
adapted from Judy Hesser’s recipe.
8 chicken thighs
250 ml buttermilk
salt, freshly ground black pepper
any other seasonings (I used paprika and Lawry’s seasoned salt)
3 tbsps oil
Place your chicken thighs into a large zippered plastic bag, pour over the buttermilk and add 1 tsp of salt. Zip up your bag, shake it all up well to ensure that all the chicken is coated, and place in your refrigerator for at least 8 hours to marinate.
Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius. Take a large roasting pan that will fit all the chicken in a single layer, add the oil and place in the oven to heat. In another large zippered bag, place some flour in (about 1/2 cup or so) and season well with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you fancy. Pull the chicken out of the buttermilk and pat dry. Toss them two at a time into the bag of flour and toss about under well coated with flour. Set aside.
Pull the now hot roasting pan out of the oven, place in the chicken thighs skin side down and in one layer only, and put it back in the oven. After about 40 minutes, check to see if the skin on the chicken is brown. If so, scrape the chicken off the bottom of the pan and flip and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes.
If your chicken was like mine, all stupid and watery, line a baking sheet with foil and rescue your submerged chicken and flip them skin side up onto the baking sheet and continue baking. They’ll be fine.