Man! It has been a crazy week. Scratch that, make that crazy for the past two weeks. Work and school decided to simultaneously bombard my life and leave me emotionally and physically drained. Late nights at work paired with early morning classes equals me running on very little sleep and having zero amounts of time to work on anything food or blog related (hence the lack of post last week). It’s times like these, when I’m frantically rushing from school to work to school to work while finding a handful of hours in between to take a quick power nap, when I really appreciate sleep. Fortunately, I had two days off between shifts where I found time to catch up on some much needed rest, homework, and post writing.
Even with work and school, a lot has happened since we've chatted last. How are the kids? Good? I have a really addicting recipe for you all this week. For this recipe, I was able to pan-fry something in my cast iron skillet for the first time. My complete and utter obsession for my cast iron skillet lies on the border of insanity. I LOVE my cast iron. It is, without a doubt, my favorite kitchen tool I own. The one I use now is a recent Christmas present from my parents. There is just something rustic and down-to-earth about cooking with a cast iron skillet. I imagine myself being on the wide open country, the hills rolling back and forth like waves, the smells of lavender and freshly mowed grass fill the kitchen air as the hush hums of grasshoppers beckon the twilight sky. *Sigh* Maybe one day.
This past week my family and I celebrated my grandmother’s 86th birthday. WOAH! It’s hard to believe, but she is seriously 86 years old. Her spunk and youthful attitude makes her seem not a day over 25. We all gathered at my cousin’s house Friday night where we ate cheeseburgers, ice cream cake and lemon meringue pie, celebrated life, and watched some YouTube videos, including the one my family and I worked on for Momma Crawford’s MBA business class. The video was for a management course she’s been taking over the semester and the subject of the video was Situational Leadership. Don’t know what Situational Leadership is? Watch it here to become enlighten. (Side note: I’m the superhero wearing red tights. An Oscar worthy performance if I do say so myself. I’ve living my dreams here people.)
Okay Nate, on with the recipe already. This recipe was inspired by a dinner party I hosted quite a few Saturday nights ago with some friends. I had this sole ambition of combining fried chicken and waffles. Mentally, I was going for a southern-styled chicken and waffle-isqué flavor profile. What I got was far beyond that. I wasn't even close. I decided to test my newly made concoction on my friends. So, how did it taste? In the words of Jon, “This is the best piece of fried chicken cake I’ve ever had”. Need I say more?
Even with this grave culinary defeat, I knew I wanted to do something with fried chicken and waffles, but what? Suddenly, the clouds parted and the muse sang. Inspiration had finally struck. “Fried chicken sliders in between two waffle fries. That’s it!” I exclaimed to myself, having to keep my voice down because it was one in the morning and my family was all fast asleep. This is how I picture my ideas to be like.
In all honesty, this was one of the best homemade fried chicken recipes I’ve ever had. It had a lot of bold and brilliant flavor profiles that complimented each other. The chicken was a tad on the spicy side, which played beautifully with the sweet tang of the honey BBQ sauce. Some of my friends, after seeing pictures of these little guys on Instagram, demanded another party so they could try these for themselves. My only complaint was when I opened the bag of waffle fries, there were only six waffles shaped pieces still intact. The rest had been smashed and broken into disappointing regular fry shapes. Next time I may learn how to make homemade waffle fries? This recipe is inspired by the recipe from Chef John at Foodwishes.com
Chicken and Waffle Fry Sliders with a Honey BBQ Sauce
For the chicken
3 ½ pound chicken breast, cut into medium-large cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of cayenne
Pinch of oregano, lemon thyme, rosemary, and dried parsley
2 cups buttermilk
For the seasoned flour
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
Pinch of cayenne
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion salt
2 ½ quarts of oil (I use shortening, but I’ve heard peanut oil is the best.)
Honey BBQ Sauce
½ cup BBQ sauce (homemade or bottled is fine)
½ cup Honey
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-step: You’re a sly and fry guy (or girl, no sexism here ladies and gentlemen).
Step One: On a large cutting board, cut the chicken breast into medium-large cubes. These will be going in between waffle fries, so use your grownup judgement! In a large bowl, add the chicken, seasonings, and buttermilk. Stir well to combine everything. Cover and store in the fridge for 6 hours.
Step Two: In a pie dish or any deep dish pan of some kind, add the flour and seasonings. Use a fork to combine together. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium heat until the oil’s temperature reads 350°F.
Step Three: Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge and dredge the pieces in the seasoned flour mixture, making sure to pat on the flour to get the pieces well coated. Working in batches, fry the pieces of chicken. On the first side: fry for 8-10 minutes. Flip and fry on the second side for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a plate with paper towels on it before serving. While you’re frying to chicken, bake off the waffle fries via the instructions.
Step Four: To make the honey BBQ sauce, add BBQ sauce, honey, Dijon, and salt + pepper to a small bowl. Stir to combine.