I tend to get total tunnel vision sometimes when it comes to food. All I need to do is hear about a dish or type of food, whether it be on tv, in a magazine article or online, and all the sudden, it’s all I can think about. I’ll hear a commercial for a local restaurant, and it’s all I want for dinner. I hear about a new Indian dish, and all the sudden a craving sets in and previous menu plans get scrapped. Such was the case recently with Chicken and Waffles.
I knew Chicken and Waffles was a Southern thing, and didn’t know much past that. Then I saw a mention of it (and ensuing conversation) on Chow’s website. Then I became obsessed. I wanted to have Chicken and Waffles, and it’s all I could think about. Through pure planet alignment, on a recent episode of Ultimate Recipe Showdown on Food Network, one of the competing recipes happened to be Hotlanta Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches with Spicy Maple Mayonnaise. It seemed rather fortuitous to me.
When the woman (Julie Ohnstad) was competing, she lost track of time, and thought that she had 15 minutes left, instead of the reality of only 5 minutes to go in the timed round. She threw together her plating in such a rush that she forgot to add the sauce, a really key component to the recipe. Once the judges found out about the issue, they asked for some sauce so that they could try the dish the way she intended it (although that couldn’t count towards her score, in fairness to the other three contestants who completed their dishes on time). She didn’t win, no surprise there, but in some after-show filming with the judges, they were asked if she would have won had she served the dish properly. They said she probably would have. Can you imagine? She lost out on $25,000 and the opportunity to have her recipe appear on T.G.I. Fridays menus nationwide just because she lost track of time. Ouch.
Nonetheless, it was perfect timing for me (small consolation, I’m sure), and I used her recipe when I made the Chicken and Waffles on Friday night. Our grocery store has small packages of fresh Belgian waffles, and I ended up going that route, which saved me the time of making my own waffles; perfect since I don’t have (and wasn’t going to buy) a waffle maker.
Loved, loved, loved these. I’m not sure what sauce, if any, traditionally goes with Chicken and Waffles (anyone?), but I have seen some that included a gravy. I loved the sweetness of this one. The sharpness of the Cheddar, the crispiness of the bacon and the creamy sweet tang of the sauce … and then the tenderness of the chicken and waffles … made for a perfect introduction to the world of Chicken and Waffles. Look, it may sound a little odd … waffles with cheese, chicken, bacon and a maple sauce … but trust me, this is just one of those things that works. And works it does. Even The Husband who kind of looked at it funny and raised an eyebrow when I told him what this was, raved about it the next day. And that Chicken and Waffles obsession? Well, now I think I need to hunt down more recipes for it…
P.S. The recipe looks long, but I promise it goes really quickly. I managed to do it in about 45 minutes (taking that waffle shortcut route) with two kids and a dog underfoot.
P.P.S. For my BBQ peeps, I have cook-all-night brisket in the oven – what are typical sides to serve with brisket? Help!
Hotlanta Style Chicken and Waffle “Sandwiches” with Spicy Maple Mayonnaise
Recipe courtesy Julie Ohnstad, Atlanta, GA
Prep: 25 min
Inactive Prep 30 min
Cook 20 min
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup peanut oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I used chili powder)
- 10 dashes hot sauce
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- 12 chicken tenderloins
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I subbed honey, ran out of maple syrup)
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon horseradish
- 12 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crispy and drained
- 8 slices sharp Cheddar
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the buttermilk, peanut oil, egg, and sugar. Mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes before cooking the waffles.
Preheat a waffle iron. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles accordingly- you will need at least 4 large size waffles to assemble the sandwiches. Once the waffles are golden, remove from the iron. Allow to cool and split them horizontally. Keep the waffles warm in a low oven, if necessary.
Heat about 3-inches of peanut oil to 375 degrees F in a large enamel or cast iron Dutch oven.
Place flour in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix panko and Cajun seasoning. In a third bowl, mix hot sauce, egg, and water. Remove the tough tendon from each tenderloin. Roll each tender in flour, then in egg mixture, then in panko mix. Fry immediately until the tenderloins are cooked through and golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside or keep warm in a low oven.
In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, maple syrup, mustard powder, and horseradish.
To assemble the sandwiches: Lay 1/2 of the waffle bottom on an ovenproof plate; top with the 3 chicken tenders, 3 slices of bacon, and 2 slices of Cheddar. Broil the sandwich for a few minutes until the cheese melts. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the maple mayonnaise on the top waffle, and place on the sandwich.