I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I joined a Facebook group for food bloggers. The owner of that group is running a project called #365Recipes, which is somewhat similar to my #52NewEats and #12NewTreats projects. It’s just another way to spark my creativity and get me in the kitchen!!
The ingredient for today was ‘waffles’, so I thought it would be a good time to retry my Chicken and Waffles Benedict recipe. I had tried this over a year ago, but wasn’t 100% sold because the waffle was too sweet. I know that traditional chicken and waffles is served with maple syrup, but I’m not sold on that either…
So like, I’m a Recovering Picky Eater. Growing up I was incredibly picky – there was even a point in my life where I didn’t like pizza. (Whaaaaa?) I mean, I also remember a time where I didn’t know how you turned a brick of cheese into shredded cheese. (Can’t you only get shredded cheese in bags?) I truly have my husband’s mother to thank for introducing me to new things when we started dating. SO. With that said – even though I have grown up and REALLY come a long, long way, there are some ‘ew’ reactions that still linger on… I could never eat fruit on salad, I really don’t understand eating fruit with meat (applesauce and pork chops? BARF!), which all sort of comes down to me not understanding the mix between sweet and savory. My tongue just says it’s a no go.
So yeah, the first time I made Chicken and Waffles Benedict, everything was okay but the waffle still tasted like a breakfast waffle to me. I was getting hung up on that. I couldn’t move forward from it. So I set out to figure out how to make a savory waffle – which I immediately searched on Pinterest and found many ideas, but none that I thought would really jive with fried chicken and a poached egg and hollandaise sauce.
Cue the #365Recipes project many months later. I’m at Whole Foods, doing my weekly shopping trip, hoping for some inspiration on how to make a waffle savory. I knew I was making this recipe the very next day so the pressure was on. As I made my way through the produce section I noticed a table with some ridiculous-smelling smoked English cheddar on display. And, POOF! That’s IT! Smoked cheddar! And what… what else? Something green. CHIVES!
And so my smoked cheddar and chives waffle was born!
I was so excited about it that when I got home I told Aaron about it right away. And he promptly made a stinky face. He’s a stinker.
But guess what. Those waffles smelled so good when they were cooking. And then when they were done I tried one and it tasted amazing. And then we built the whole dish together and the whole thing – together – amazing. I swear there’s something to this ‘smoke’ thing. Last week I told you about how liquid smoke changed my life with sloppy joes and now this week it’s smoked cheddar. Maybe we need a smoker?
I don’t think Aaron would mind…
Chicken and Waffles Benedict
Enough waffle mix to make 4 4×4-inch Belgian waffles (I use //this waffle maker//)
1/4 cup smoked cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 chicken cutlets
4 poached eggs
Prepared hollandaise sauce (I like //this brand// or //this brand//)
Chopped chives for garnish, if desired
Smoked paprika for garnish, if desired
1. Make your waffles: Grate the smoked cheddar on a Microplane grater, or on the finest holes available on your box grater. Prepare waffle mix according to package directions, then stir in the smoked cheddar and chives. (Note: My waffle mix, for four waffles, uses 1 cup of mix plus wet ingredients. You may be able to figure out how to scale up or down from there, depending on your waffle mix.) When combined, pour into a preheated waffle maker. Close the lid and cook to desired doneness. Cook time will depend on your individual waffle maker. When waffles are finished, remove from the waffle maker, and keep warm, depending on your pace with the other ingredients.
2. Bread and fry your chicken: Preheat the oil in your fryer to 375 (DISCLAIMER: This is the temperature we use. Different fryers may recommend different temperatures for frying chicken. Check your manual, or check online if necessary). Combine the buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl, and set aside. Combine the flour, garlic salt, smoked paprika, black pepper, cayenne, and poultry seasoning in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Seal the bag shut then squish the flour around to mix all the dry ingredients evenly. Working with one chicken cutlet at a time, add one cutlet to the flour mixture, seal the bag, and shake to coat. Remove the chicken cutlet, then dip in the buttermilk mixture. Return the chicken cutlet to the flour mixture, seal the bag, and shake to coat for a second time. Remove the chicken cutlet right to the fry basket. Keep the basket elevated while you do the next chicken cutlet. When ready, lower the fry basket into the preheated oil and deep fry until it reaches a deep golden brown. (Actual fry time will vary widely depending on many factors, including the temperature of your oil and the size of your fryer. Instead of giving you a time frame, I would encourage you to keep an eye on your chicken and look for that yummy golden brown color, and go by the manufacturer’s instructions.) Remove the chicken when done to a paper towel-lined plate to cool for a minute and dry. Keep warm.
3. Prepare hollandaise sauce according to package directions and keep warm.
4. Poach your eggs: Fill a 12-inch skillet with water and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, or to a heat that leaves the water at barely a simmer. Sprinkle some salt into the water so the eggs don’t stick. When the water is at a steady barely-simmer, crack one egg into a small bowl, taking care not to break the yolks. Gently tip the bowl into the simmering water, allowing some of the water to seep into the bowl, and slip the egg out of the bowl and into the water. Repeat with another egg on the other side of the skillet. Simmer the eggs for 3-4 minutes, or until the egg whites are set. With a slotted spoon, scoop one egg at a time out of the water and pat dry with paper towels.
5. Assemble! Place each waffle on a plate. Top each waffle with a fried chicken cutlet. As you bring poached eggs out of the water and pat them dry, gently place on top of each fried chicken cutlet. Then generously douse with hollandaise sauce, and top with chopped chives and smoked paprika, if desired.