Friday, January 25, 2013

Chicken and Waffles

I never did "get" the concept of chicken and waffles. Crisp fried chicken accompanied by crisp waffles--and syrup--seemed an incongruous (and messy) pairing to me, so when we encountered the pulled chicken and gravy version at Rocket to Venus, I thought we found one that might work. Unfortunately, it suffered in execution. What I felt that dish needed - besides 90% less gravy - was good gravy. (Good gravy!) Of course, the maple syrup element probably needed to be added (so the waffles don't get lonely), but the thought of maple syrup AND gravy just wasn't cutting it. Then I thought, why not put maple syrup IN the gravy?

Because that's weird.

I then considered flavors that worked well when combined with maple and with chicken. When I was a kid, my dad used to make waffles with bacon in them, a glorious combination when bathed in maple syrup. My mom liked to make a chicken dish that involved bacon, along with heavy cream and scallions. The common denominator in these two recipes is, of course, the almighty bacon, so I knew that everybody's favorite porky substance could potentially be a bridge between the maple and the chicken. What am I saying, "potentially?" Of course it would work to unite the two flavors together, along with lashings of cream for richness and scallions for a fresh green bite!

I love it when a plan comes together. The maple syrup worked beautifully in the chicken gravy, without making it overly sweet. It was fabulous over waffles, but would be damn good over biscuits as well.

Chicken and Waffles with Bacon Maple Gravy

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups rich chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
salt and pepper
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
your favorite waffle recipe
2 tablespoons chopped scallions

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook for about 5 minutes - stirring regularly - to create a light blonde roux. Raise heat and whisk in chicken stock; bring to a boil. After a minute or two, when stock has thickened to gravy consistency, lower heat to medium and stir in the bacon, cream, and maple syrup. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir in chicken. Cook until heated through, another 3 minutes or so.

While the gravy is cooking, make up a batch of waffles using your favorite recipe. Keep them warm on a cookie sheet in a 250F oven until ready to serve.

To serve: Place waffles on a plate. Spoon sauce on top, but do not drown. Garnish with scallions. Serves 2-4.

Posted by theminx on