Waffles, a dish developed during Medieval Times. Pot Pie, a dish originally created by the ancient Greeks, around 500 BCE. Fried Chicken, a dish around for centuries, cooked up by West African slaves in the south, and that made a Colonel a household name. Put all three together and the fusion of chicken and waffles was born.
Waffles are made from a batter, also used to make pancakes, which is baked inside a hot iron device. The device is basically two iron plates connected by a hinge which have a distinctive square indented pattern, and molds come in either a round or a square shape. The waffle originated in the Medieval Ages where the device was heated over a fire, and the batter created a light, crispy, and very thin “wafer”. With the invention of baking powder, the modern waffle could be created; and it can go beyond being a breakfast item. A solid square of ice cream between two small waffle squares becomes the “waffle ice cream sandwich”; an excellent treat anytime.
We are probably used to the “regular” waffle which is typically about ¼ inch in thickness. But, have you ever eaten Belgium waffles? While they require the same ingredients of flour, milk, eggs, butter or oil, these waffles include egg whites and yeast, not baking powder. They are fluffier, about one inch in thickness, lighter and crispier in texture, and have deeper “pockets” for holding melted butter, syrups or preserves. Now, use two Belgium waffles to create that ice cream sandwich, and fully experience, “I am in dessert heaven” overload.
While waffles are usually looked upon as a breakfast item, they can be served at lunch or dinner and mainly paired with chicken. In the Southern United States, fried chicken was often paired with waffles; the typical breakfast accessories of syrup and butter accompanied the waffles. While fried chicken has been made round the world, for centuries, it was the slaves of West Africa who introduced it to the southern colonists of the new world. There is really no set recipe for the fried chicken used for southern style chicken and waffles. Whether you buy a bucket of the Colonel’s own, use your granny’s homemade recipe, or heat up a box of the frozen kind found in the supermarket, make sure the waffles are large and in charge.
In Pennsylvania, the Amish serve the waffles covered with chicken and vegetables that have been cooked in gravy (brown or white). Finding out the origin of pot pie was, at first, a surprise, and then it became a, “oh, that explains it”. As I mentioned before, the Ancient Greeks originally made meat pies, called artocreas, with a bottom crust, but no top crust, and cooked in clay pots, hence “pot pies”. The Romans went one step better by adding a top crust made from oil and flour. Alright history buffs, the Romans invaded the lands, of what we call Europe, so it should not be any wonder that their cuisine came with them. With the help of William Penn, of England, the Amish, persecuted, for their religious beliefs, were able to immigrate to the new world. Where? Pennsylvania, named after? Yes! William Penn.
History lesson over, now
let’s make some chicken and waffles.
How to Make Waffles
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
2 eggs, separated
1 ¾ cups milk (or buttermilk)
4 Tbsp melted butter
Preheat waffle maker.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder; set aside. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites until they just start to hold a peak; not stiff; set aside.
In another small bowl, whisk egg yolks with milk and melted butter; gradually whisk this mixture into the dry ingredients, but not till completely smooth. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites and the batter will thicken.
Follow the waffle machine’s manufacturer’s directions on amount of batter to use for each waffle and cooking time.
Makes 4-6 waffles depending on maker used.
Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken and Waffles
1 small roasting chicken (2 and ½ lbs. to 3 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup mixture of diced onion, carrot and celery
5 cups chicken broth
¼ cup flour
½ tsp. ground black pepper
Roast and shred chicken meat. While chicken was roasting, melt butter in small skillet, over medium heat, and sauté vegetables until softened; set aside.
In a medium stockpot, over medium-high heat, bring chicken broth to a boil; whisk in flour quickly and incorporate well. Reduce heat to low, add in chicken, vegetables and black pepper; cook for 20 minutes.
Ladle over prepared waffles.
Makes 8-10 servings.