Mexican Chicken & Waffles
IF YOU MAKE THEM
YOUR FRIENDS WILL COME
Many moons ago I thought the combination of chicken and waffles was just wrong. I know I wasn’t alone on this one. However, like anything else in this world, if you haven’t tried it, you simply can’t judge. So, I gave it a shot. And I have to say, I was so wrong! … and those Southerners just know what good food is all about.
Then I started to think, how about if I take it a little further south of the border: Mexico! Adding a little bit of spice and heat to mingle with its sweet and savory nature would be perfect! In my mind I can see a band of guys with big smiles, dressed in white pants and gilded suits, and holding string instruments start to serenade me while I’m enjoying a plate of glorious chicken and waffles. Awesome audio, definitely great visual. I was Inspired. Motivated. Salivated.
Alas, I started to frantically browse the internet and dig into my library of cookbooks looking for ‘mariachi worthy’ chicken and waffle recipes. I shopped, cooked, tasted, and shopped, cooked, tasted again… and 5 pounds later, I discovered that perfect marriage of juicy, flavorful chicken and off-the-grid, savory polenta waffles drizzled with honey. After all, that word mariachi was derived from the French word mariage (‘marriage’). So clever!
Well, here’s to you Ivy Stark of Dos Caminos and King Arthur of King Arthur Flour, you guys not only helped me become a less judgmental person. I now love fried chicken and waffles, especially this Mexican Style. I’m as happy consuming them for dinner or breakfast as much as lunch. And here’s to you the invisible mariachi boys, you are my heroes. Sing away, my friends. Sing away…
- 1¾ cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1½ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons baker’s sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives; if using dry, use 3 tablespoons (optional)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground chile de arbol
- 3 tablespoons dried tomato or bell pepper flakes (optional)
Mexican Fried Chicken
- ¾ cup honey, plus more for drizzling
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 12 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- Canola oil for frying
- 4 extra-large egg whites
- ¾ cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- ½ tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 lime, cut into wedges for garnish
- Mix honey and vinegar in a bowl and add chicken. Toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. Drain chicken pieces on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 3 inches of oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Oil should reach between 350°F and 375°F for frying.
- Beat egg whites in a shallow dish. Combine cornmeal or breadcrumbs with flour, baking powder and spices.
- Coat the chicken pieces in the egg whites then toss in the flour mixture. Fry in small batches, until deep golden and juices run clear. Season hot chicken with a little extra salt as they come out.
- Serve with lime wedges, honey for drizzling and your favorite hot sauce. For a fresh accompaniment slice up some cherry tomatoes, and avocado.