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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

Whisky: It’s What’s For Dinner

They're rare so get them while you can!

We’re likely to make whisky dinners a habit after a recent event presented by Whiskies of the World and The City Club Whisky Society in San Francisco. City Club’s David Forsyth and WoW’s Douglas Smith hosted Ed Kohl of ImpEx Beverages who led the evening’s educational tasting of a magnificent selection of whiskies from the Ian Macleod DistillersChieftain’s Range of single cask bottlings.

Now, you might be thinking to yourselves, “Whisky with dinner? That’s just crazy!” Believe us, whisky is a fantastic companion to many of your favorite foods. Pairing food and spirits takes some experience, but you already know that it works well with examples like tequila and carne asada or Grand Marnier and chocolate soufflé.

This was our favorite-and most rare-of the bunch.

So, here’s the setup: each course of the meal is paired with two different but complimentary Scotch whiskies, each selected for its unique flavor profile and likely affinity to the flavors of the food it accompanies. As the meal progresses, our whisky expert explains the whisky making process while describing the flavors of the whiskies in front of us on the table. Diners have a unique opportunity to experiment with pairings that would never have occurred to them (who thinks to serve whisky with fish?) while learning quite a lot about a spirit category many Americans are rediscovering.

The City Club’s very own Chef Michael Munoz, formerly of Moose’s Restaurant in North Beach, put out a fantastic meal that began with a taste of pepper seared beef tenderloin, roasted peppers and blue cheese cream on toasted crostini. Our whisky experts from ImpEx paired the hors d’oeuvres with two fantastic drams – the first, an 8 year old Isle of Skye blended malt with its mellow smokiness, was the perfect start to the evening’s tasting; the second, a 31 year old bottling of Speyside malt Allt a’ Bhainne, was a spicy, warm and woody counterpoint to the rich flavors of the beef and blue cheese.

Beautiful and delicious scallop with duck hash.

The pan seared Maine Diver Scallop dish that kicked off the sit down meal impressed us. Chef Munoz plated these beautiful scallops with Muscovy Duck Sausage Hash, Rocket greens and a delicate sauce béarnaise. The accompanying whiskies, an 18 year old Glen Moray from Speyside and a 25 year old Port Ellen from Islay were gorgeous on their own. The exquisite Port Ellen was jaw droppingly delicious and oh so fine! The Glen Moray was full of fruit and sweet oaky spice that lingered for a very long time. Both complimented the scallop and duck perfectly.

Venison, the other red meat.

Our venison consumption has been limited to the wild variety – mule deer, elk and antelope from Idaho and Wyoming – so we were curious to taste Chef’s Denver Leg of Venison, which he plated with herbed spaetzle, a puree of English peas, an heirloom tomato sauce and black truffle jus. We were impressed by the kitchen’s expert touch with the venison, served nice and rare. Venison is naturally lean relative to beef and as such doesn’t hold up well to overcooking. Wild venison cooked well turns into shoe leather and once “ruined” must be cooked for a very long time to get it back to a point where it is chewable. This dish was delicate and perfectly tender! We loved the spaetzle, a treat we’ve prepared at home with good success but something we don’t eat often enough. If there was a disappointment in the dish, it had to be the pea puree. It wasn’t a bad idea, but it didn’t do anything for the venison and one of us thought it tasted as though the peas were old. We both agreed that while some preparations of greens might pair well with whisky, this pea puree did not. The flavor of the tomato sauce was barely perceptible. The course was paired with a 16 year old Linkwood, a Speyside malt of excellent character with sweet smoke and spicy cedar notes that worked beautifully with the venison. We also tasted a 14 year old Glenrothes that has been finished in a Burgundy cask (also from Speyside). We love Glenrothes whisky, and this one was fine, but the Burgundy finish was distracting and, for a few dinner guests we spoke to, confusing. They wanted wine with their venison and the Glenrothes disappointed because the wine finish is, of course, very subtle.

You can never go wrong with Chocolate and Whisky.

The evening meal ended with a dark chocolate pot de crème and chocolate dipped hazelnut short bread. The pot de crème was interesting – very buttery and dense. We thought it was delicious. The hazelnut short bread was awesome! Unlike many shortbreads, this one was crisp not sandy. We wanted a plate of them. Desert paired nicely with an 11 year old Madeira finished Dalmore that we thought to be perfectly sweet and creamy with just hint of chocolate and smoke. It’s a warm, sunny malt from the Scottish Highlands that works nicely with the added richness of the Madeira.

Our compliments to the Chef and the whisky makers! You’ve inspired us to think more broadly about food and beverage pairings. To those of you who are still scratching your heads, we say let go of your inhibitions and give it a try. How bad can a great steak paired with a great glass of Scotch taste? We think you’ll love them together.