If you haven’t ever had the dynamic duo of chicken and waffles, you really need to try it. This crispy waffle recipe is the perfect complement to the “better than the colonel” chicken I make as it’s companion.
While I don’t know how true it is, I’ve heard the chicken and waffle combo was started in New York City in the Harlem district, when little hole in the wall all night diners created dinners for club patrons and the musicians who played at them. It has its roots in Soul food and became very popular in LA, primarily because of the popularity of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.
It doesn’t matter where the combination came from, both the chicken and the waffles have to be superior for it to taste its best. If you’ve tried my waffle recipe, you know it’s so delicious you will want to eat it at every meal. I believe I’ve found the perfect chicken recipe to match that delectable flavor and create a dynamic duo you’ll eat morning, noon, night or as a midnight special.
You use quite a few seasonings to get that special flavor, luckily almost everyone has them in their cupboard. You need two teaspoons of each; garlic powder, dried oregano, freshly ground black pepper, paprika and a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Mix them thoroughly in a small bowl. You’ll use two tablespoons right away to mix with a cup of buttermilk, one large egg and a tablespoon of Kosher salt and set the rest of the spice mixture aside for later. Toss a whole chicken cut into pieces in this mixture to coat it and then put chicken and mixture in a zip lock bag. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least for hours or overnight if possible. Make sure you flip the bag several times to insure all parts get coated.
When you’re ready to make this delicacy, you don’t need many more ingredients. You’ll whisk one and a half cups of flour, 1/cup cornstarch, one teaspoon baking powder, the rest of the spice mixture and two teaspoons of salt together. When it’s thoroughly blended, add three tablespoons of the chicken marinade and work it into the flour thoroughly. It will be “a bit lumpy,” but give the chicken the shaggy crisp crust we’ve all grown to love. Allow the excess marinade to drip off and then toss the piece in the flour mixture, leaving it there while you do the next. Toss again to insure a good coating.
Combine the paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork.
Whisk the buttermilk, egg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss and turn to coat. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight, flipping the bag occasionally to redistribute the contents and coat the chicken evenly.
Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and the remaining spice mixture in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the marinade from the zipper-lock bag and work it into the flour with your fingertips. Remove one piece of chicken from the bag, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off, drop the chicken into the flour mixture, and toss to coat. Continue adding chicken pieces to the flour mixture one at a time until they are all in the bowl. Toss the chicken until every piece is thoroughly coated, pressing with your hands to get the flour to adhere in a thick layer.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the shortening or oil to 425°F in a 12-inch straight-sided cast-iron chicken fryer or a large wok over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature, being careful not to let the fat get any hotter.
One piece at a time, transfer the coated chicken to a fine-mesh strainer and shake to remove excess flour. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Once all the chicken pieces are coated, place skin side down in the pan. The temperature should drop to 300°F; adjust the heat to maintain the temperature at 300°F for the duration of the cooking. Fry the chicken until it’s a deep golden brown on the first side, about 6 minutes; do not move the chicken or start checking for doneness until it has fried for at least 3 minutes, or you may knock off the coating. Care- fully flip the chicken pieces with tongs and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 4 minutes longer.
Transfer the chicken to a clean wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 150°F and the legs register 165°F, 5 to 10 minutes; remove the chicken pieces to a second rack or a paper-towel-lined plate as they reach their final temperature. Season with salt and serve—or, for extra-crunchy fried chicken, go to step 7.
Place the plate of cooked chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight. When ready to serve, reheat the oil to 400°F. Add the chicken pieces and cook, flipping them once halfway through cooking, until completely crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet to drain, then serve immediately.