Recipe
Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Waffles with Black Pepper Maple Syrup and Vanilla Butter

Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Waffles with Black Pepper Maple Syrup and Vanilla Butter

This may seem an unlikely combination, but trust me, for those moments when you're not sure if it's dinner or breakfast that you want, this satisfies completely.  Waffles stand in here in place of biscuits--soak up all the buttery, syrupy goodness that is drizzled over crisp-fried chicken.  This recipe is based on a killer version of chicken and waffles that is served at Emeril's Restaurant in New Orleans.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 1/2 hours plus 4 hours to overnight for marinating the chicken
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup Crystal hot sauce, or your favorite
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • One 3 1/2 pound whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 to 4 cups peanut oil or other vegetable oil as needed, for frying
  • Buttermilk Waffles, recipe follows
  • Black Pepper Maple Syrup, recipe follows
  • Vanilla Butter, recipe follows
  • Buttermilk Waffles

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
  • Whipped Vanilla Butter

  • One 1-inch piece of vanilla bean
  • 12 tablesppoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Black Pepper Maple Syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups grade-A dark amber maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Crystal hot sauce
  • One 1-inch scraped vanilla bean pod (from making the Whipped Vanilla Butter)

Directions

  • Fried Chicken

    In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, sugar, the 1 tablespoon salt and paprika.  Add the garlic.  Transfer this mixture to a gallon-size resealable plastic food storage bag.  Add the chicken pieces to the bag, seal, and refrigerate.  Allow the chicken to marinate at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

  • Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and set it aside.  In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

  • Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, allowing the excess to drain off, and then dredge them in the flour.  Set the coated pieces on the wire rack until ready to fry.

  • Pour the oil to a depth of 1 inch in a 10-inch cast iron skillet.  Heat the oil over high heat to 350 degrees F.  (Use a deep-fry/candy thermometer for accuracy.)

  • Fry the chicken, in batches, until golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side; the chicken should register 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.  As you are cooking, be mindful of the temperature of your oil and regulate the heat as necessary.  The temperature of the oil will drop once you add the chicken.  You want to maintain the temperature between 275 degrees and 335 degrees F.  As the pieces are cooked, transfer them to a paper towel-lined platter.

  • Serve the chicken hot, with the Buttermilk Waffles, Black Pepper Maple Syrup, and Whipped Vanilla Butter.

  • Buttermilk Waffles

    Combine the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  In a second medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in the melted butter. (The batter can be prepared ahead and refrigerated overnight.)

  • Heat an oiled waffle iron.  Pour the appropriate amount of batter (according to the size of your waffle iron) onto the hot griddle, and cook until crisped and golden brown to your liking.  Transfer the waffle to a serving plate and repeat with the remaining batter.  Makes about 6 waffles.

  • Whipped Vanilla Butter

    Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a small bowl.  Reserve the scraped pod for the Black Pepper Maple Syrup.  Add the butter and salt to the bowl, and whip with a handheld electric mixer until light and fluffy.

  • Transfer the butter to a small container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.  Makes generous 12 tablespoons

  • Black Pepper Maple Syrup

    Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and allow the flavors to steep until ready to serve.  Remove the vanilla bean before serving if desired.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups