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Oven Fried Chicken & Waffles

Ah, fried chicken and waffles! Folks have been serving them together for ages, but the combo has enjoyed a lengthy renaissance of sorts in recent years. Mostly likely Southern soul food-inspired, interest in this decidedly decadent dish grew to a near frenzy back in the ’00s. Today it’s standard chow, found on menus just about everywhere.

With a chicken in the fridge, and too many jars of bacon fat, we felt tempted to fry it up with as much bacon fat as possible. Inspired by Ina Garten’s Oven-Fried Chicken and Julia Moskin’s Best Fried Chicken, we incorporated elements of the two recipes to come up with this version. We served the chicken with a batch of  Black Pepper and Parmesan Belgian waffles, a tweeked version of King Arthur’s Classic Buttermilk Waffles, and plenty of hot maple syrup, crunchy salt flakes and Tabasco. Stick-to-your-ribs dinner fare!

Our eyes were bigger than our bellies on this one. A whole frying chicken will easily feed four adults when combined with crispy Belgian waffles. So this one is for a family or party of four or more. Of course, if you’re like us, you’ll make it a little party anyway and serve it with Sazeracs. Next time we whip up a batch we’ll make sure to invite a few friends over.

If you happen to have leftover waffles, freeze them. They last for weeks and toast up quickly. Any leftover chicken can easily be turned into a quick fried chicken sandwich or salad.

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Best Oven Fried Chicken

1 chicken cut in eight pieces
1 cup kefir
1 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 – 1 cup bacon fat (strained of all pieces)
vegetable oil for frying

Place the cut up chicken in a gallon sized plastic bag, add the kefir and zip shut. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. In a gallon sized plastic bag, or bowl, add the flour, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Whisk together and set aside.

After marinating, remove the chicken from the kefir. Add a piece or two to the bag of flour, or bowl, and coat each piece. Set aside on a plate or tray. Continue with the rest of the chicken pieces.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add a baking tray and rack to the oven.

In a large fry pan on medium heat add the vegetable oil and allow to reach 350 – 360 degree. Slowly add the bacon fat and bring back up to heat. When oil is hot enough, gently, but quickly, add one piece at a time, about three to four piece. The size of the pan will determine the number of pieces that can be cooked at one time.

Fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and place on the rack in the oven to continue to bake, another 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink at the bone.

Black Pepper and Parmesan Waffles

1 3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
2 teaspoons (or more) freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups kefir
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flours, Parmigiano Reggiano, black pepper, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl beat together the eggs, kefir, and melted butter.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until almost smooth. A few small clumps may be present.

Heat the waffle iron. Once ready gently spray with non-stick spray. Add 1/4 – 1/3 cup of the batter to the waffle maker, or however much your waffle iron can hold. Cook until golden brown. Place in the oven to keep warm.

Serve the waffles and fried chicken with warm maple syrup or gravy.

Sazerac

2 ounces Bulleit Rye
1/2 tsp sugar
Several dashes of angostura bitters
A dash of Absinthe or enough to coat the bottom and sides of the cocktail glass without dripping out
Lemon twist

Note: This is a labor intensive cocktail that requires a little planning. It’s worth every second it takes to prepare!

Set serving class in freezer to chill. In a rocks glass, add sugar and bitters and stir until sugar begins to dissolve. Add bourbon or rye and muddle them until the sugar is completely dissolved (this takes time).

Remove cocktail glass from freezer and add absinthe, turning glass on its side to coat the bottom and inside of the glass. To the bourbon sugar bitters mixture, add 2 or 3 ice cubes and stir until chilled. Strain into frozen cocktail glasses.

Garnish with a piece of lemon zest (use a veggie peeler). Be sure to twist the lemon peel over the surface of the cocktail so that the oils “spritz” over the surface. Cheers!

and a drizzle of soy sauce.

Congee – Chicken Porridge

As the new year approached, we started searching for chicken porridge recipes. They were all similarly easy to put together, but they also all called for long grain white rice. We like white rice but we also wanted our version to be more healthy, so we substituted the white rice for brown basmati rice. The brown rice gave it more fiber and the basmati lent a nutty taste to the porridge. We also like mixing grains whenever we get the opportunity. Our morning oatmeal will sometimes have polenta, quinoa, or whatever small amount of grain or seed we have on hand. So with the basmati rice we included steel cut oats, a traditional morning staple and just regular wheat.

This dish also cooks a lot longer then regular oatmeal or rice, about twice as long. The rice breaks down into a mush like consistency. The result is a savory morning, afternoon, or evening treat. The batch that we made was too much for just the two of us so we froze part of it. We now  look forward to  coming home after a morning run to find a thawed batch of the porridge sitting on the counter from the night before and all that is required is a quick reheating of the porridge, a couple poached eggs, and a few chops of the knife for the condiments to bring this yummy dish back to life.

Congee — Chicken Porridge
(Serves 6-8)

1 whole chicken (organic preferred)
1 small cinnamon stick
few whole allspice
small handful of whole peppercorns
1 star anise
1 inch knob of ginger (peeled and sliced into thick rounds)
3-4 carrots, scrubbed clean and cut into 2-inches
2-3 celery stocks, cut into 2-inches
1 large shallot, cut into large chunks
1 gallon of cold water, or more to cover the bird
1/8-1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups brown basmati rice, or other long grain rice (not instant)
2  cups steel cut oats (not rolled oats), or other whole grain, or a combination
3-4 chopped green onions
small bunch chopped cilantro
Chinese donut, cut into pieces (optional)
soy sauce
sesame oil
Sriracha and other hot sauce condiments

Put the chicken, vegetables, and spices into a large stock pot and cover with cold water, about a gallon, and add the soy saucePut the stock pot on the stove and over medium heat cover the pot and allow the water to come to a boil. Once the water is boiling turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 1 hour. Turn the heat off and remove the chicken. It will probably be falling off the bones. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables and spices.
Return the stock to a clean pan and add the rice and steel cut oats. Over a medium heat bring the broth, rice, and oats (and grains) to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook slowly stirring occasionally for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours. During the last half hour you’ll want to stir more frequently to avoid scorching the bottom. This can be done the night before, covered and finished the next morning.
In the meantime, when the chicken has rested and cooled, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the meat with your hands. Careful to remove all cartilage and gristle. If you’re eating the congee right away, add half to all of the chicken— depending on the size of the bird and the amount of meat. If you’re cooking the congee the night before, refrigerate the shredded chicken and add to the congee the next morning.
Serve in warmed bowls with chopped green onions, cilantro, Chinese donuts, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and Sriracha or other hot sauce.

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