Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Soul Food Fusion: Fried Chicken & Waffle Sandwich

It all started with a trip to Roots, one of our favorite Milwaukee restaurants.  We love Roots for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it's got a gorgeous patio, surrounded with herbs and other edible plants, that overlooks one of the best views of the city.  It had been a long week, and we decided to meet a friend of ours for drinks.  While we were chatting, Peef picked up the menu and spied something that would change his (and thereby my) life forever:

Smoky Fried Chicken
Frank's Red Hot waffle, dill ranch, dressed kale

I'll pretty much guarantee that it was the Frank's Red Hot waffle that caught his eye first.  Being a man obsessed with condiments, particularly spicy ones, he automatically has a visceral reaction to words like "grainy mustard," "siracha," and "hot sauce."    And the man's pretty fond of waffles. 

Once he got over the intriguing idea of putting hot sauce into a waffle, I'm quite sure he quickly glossed over the part about the dill ranch and kale, but he definitely saw the fried chicken part.  And then it was all over.

We both ended up ordering the Smoky Fried Chicken.  And it was pretty incredible.


Since, as I've said many times before, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we decided to recreate this delicious sandwich for ourselves at home.  So, a few months later (fast forward to this past weekend), we pulled together a cadre of all the necessary ingredients.

Since we're in the midst of the Milwaukee Eat Local Challenge, we opted for Wisconsin grown Cornish Cross chicken breasts from Angel Acres and a nice bunch of locally grown lacinato kale.  We also subbed out the Frank's Red Hot for a more local option, Off Road Camp Fire Pepper Sauce.

After pounding our chicken breasts flat and dredging them in kefir, and then in a mixture of cornmeal, flour, and seasonings, we fried them up to a golden brown in a bit of oil.  While I was frying the chicken, Peef made up a batch of cornmeal waffles (our favorite pairing with fried chicken).

The best part about making these particular waffles was, of course, the fact that he got to sub in hot sauce for 1/4 cup of the buttermilk.  But, a close second was the fact that he got to make the waffles in our brand new West Bend Belgian waffle maker.

Our former waffle maker was a fancy blue FiestaWare model that I bought Peef for Christmas a number of years back.  Unfortunately, we had some restoration work done on our house this past year, and the poor waffle iron got knocked off of its shelf, shattering into about 5 different pieces.  So, we had been without waffles for quite a while before this handy dandy gadget arrived at our doorstep.

And I do mean handy dandy.  This waffle maker turns out perfectly golden waffles with very little skill needed. Just by gripping the handle, it twists 180 degrees so your waffles bake and brown evenly every time.  I've also been told this rotating action ensures that the batter is more evenly distributed leading to waffles that are are crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
But, I'm no waffle expert.  All I know is that our waffles came out beautifully golden, perfectly tender, and -- whoo! -- just a little spicy from that cayenne pepper sauce we added.

We took those lovely waffles and sidled them up right against pieces of fried chicken, which we then topped with finely shredded kale tossed with a deliciously refreshing dill ranch dressing.  Another waffle on top, and all of a sudden we had a pretty spectacular waffle sandwich.

Just like they make at Roots. And probably even better.

Cornmeal Waffles
Dill Ranch Salad Dressing

And now for the fun part!  We get to give one of our lucky readers the chance to win a West Bend Waffle Maker of his or her very own!!  

For your chance to win, just leave us a comment letting us know about your favorite way to eat waffles.

Rules:  All comments must be received by Monday evening, September 19th, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. CST  Winners will be announced on Facebook before the end of the day on Tuesday, September 13th.  Entrants must provide a working email address in their comment or blogger profile to win.  Limited to citizens of the U.S. and Canada.

Alright, ready...set... go!

Full Disclosure:  Although we were given West Bend Company products free of charge for the purpose of this review and giveaway, all opinions expressed in this review are our own.  
Creative Commons License
©BURP! Where Food Happens

33 comments:

  1. I like piling fruit on my waffles! I really want to try some pumpkin waffles this fall too.

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  2. I love to top mine with vanilla ice cream and strawberries!

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  3. Pumpkin flavored waffles smothered in butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar but wait..top it off with whipped cream for the ultimate pumpkin pie waffles!

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  4. I must have peanut butter on my waffles, and now I'm on an almond butter kick, too. Funny thing - I lurve peanut butter on cornbread as well and you mentioned making cornbready waffles.

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  5. Whipped cream and strawberries on top!

    xxdancingdiva007xx(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  6. I love eating waffles with my fingers! There is nothing better than dipping crispy/chewy strips in warm maple syrup.

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  7. I love them with bananas, nuts and syrup on top!

    kathrynbaby2004@yahoo.com

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  8. I like to make dessert with waffles, by piling ice cream and chocolate syrup on them!

    Laura

    Laurasu82 at yahoo.com

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  9. My husband thinks it's a little strange, but I love my waffles with a little butter and dusted with powder sugar.

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  10. I used to be a habitual renter of Dorie Greenspan's Pancakes Morning, Noon an Night... Then I found her Waffles Morning, Noon and night at a thrift and I was estatic! I can't say I have made savory waffles yet, but yours look amazing. So far my favorites were her caramelly banana waffles that nearly burnt where the banana bits hit the waffler. Not a bad thing at all!!

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  11. My grandmother had a recipe that I should hunt down some day - it was a sharp cheddar with chipped beef, I think, that she served on waffles.

    Failing that, the Cobblestone at Cafe' Hollander is awesome - a scoop of ice cream, hot chocolate and their Red Devil sauce (raspberry-chili sauce). Naturally, that's a dessert waffle.

    linn.elliott @ gmail dot com

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  12. I like my waffles with syrup on them...breakfast, lunch, dinner. Doesn't matter when.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  13. I like to eat them for breakfast with blueberries.

    MamasMusings@hotmail.com

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  14. I love my waffles with strawberries in syrup and whipping cream. loriagalbraith@gmail.com

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  15. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! My favorite way to eat Belgian Waffles is with strawberries, whipped cream and sugar. Very lo-cal! :-)

    BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

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  16. I would be absolutely thrilled to win this!! I LOVE my waffles with maple syrup! Occasionally, I will put strawberries and whipped cream on top!
    Alicia
    littlesprinklesoffun@yahoo.com

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  17. blueberries and whipped cream!

    jamieadkins@mail.com

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. I am a pretty plain jane. I like my waffles the old fashioned way. With butter and syrup! Yum!!

    katie at coverbutton dot net

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  20. Strawberries and whipped cream. Yum!
    crochet4hats[at]gmail[dot]com

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  21. with fruit and nuts and tons of syrup

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  22. hot off the griddle, in hand~ although whipped cream and fresh berries or sliced peaches on top runs a close second~
    penneys 5 @ gmail dot com

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  23. I love my waffles with lots of butter & brown sugar, pushed into every little pocket. Mmmmmmm. scooterdog3(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  24. I love waffles with butter and syrup! Although piling ice creams and whipped cream is also delicious!
    Abby - noel.christmas365 at gmail. com

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  25. Ever since I had chicken and waffles out in LA, that had been BY FAR my favorite way to eat them. A close second is just to have them loaded with butter and real maple syrup.

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  26. I love eating waffles with melted jelly and powered sugar!!! So not good for you but it's delicious!!! sara_pulliam@yahoo.com

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  27. It's butter and syrup most of the time, but I'll try them with fruit and whipped cream too.

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  28. My favorite way to eat waffles (light and fluffy or waffle crisps) is with a nice bananas foster YUM YUM YUM YUM!!!!!!! seconded only two a nice fresh crisp but fluffy waffle cone...I only "accidently" successfully make a great one once in a blue moon ;)

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  29. Oh those look like a winner! We are big fans of chicken & waffles in our house too & have been playing with the waffles as well. I've never thought to add the hot sauce to the waffles though, Matt would love it!

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  30. I love waffles covered in berries and whipped cream. Thanks for the chance to win!

    thesuburbanjungle @ gmail.com

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  31. I like to eat waffles like a sandwich with pb&j

    Kevin
    maas0031@comcast. net

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  32. I like my breakfast sweet. I'll typically go with fresh strawberries and whip cream, but I've also had them with a very decadent white chocolate sauce.

    Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day though so I'll give hot sauce a try for sure.

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  33. Red Hot waffles? BRILLIANT. Seriously.

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