It's a shame that Bobby Flay had to go all the way uptown to Harlem for his Chicken and Waffles Throwdown! since there was no way he could possibly beat Melba Wilson's. On paper, the recipe looks like the work of a mad woman—mustard and buttermilk-soaked fried chicken piled on waffles made with eggnog in place of cream, all finished with sweet strawberry butter and even sweeter maple syrup. But somehow, when all of the elements come together (and are doused with syrup) it's insane in the most delicious way.
If you are a little dubious of the combination, I don't blame you at all. In fact, I was kind of prepared for this dinner to be something of a disaster. But when the chicken and waffles hit the table and everyone dug in, I was met with the kind of silence that only comes when a meal is so delicious, there's no room for words. I have to give a big round of applause to Bobby Flay's Throwdown! cookbook for including this crazy delicious recipe—my standard for chicken and waffles has been taken to the next level.
- For the chicken:
- 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Sazonador seasoning
- For the eggnog waffles:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 2 cups eggnog
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- Cooking spray, for the waffle iron
- Strawberry Butter (recipe follows), for serving
- Maple syrup, for serving
- Strawberry Butter:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 4 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 3/4 cup)
- A few drops of grenadine syrup
To cook the chicken, put the chicken pieces in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, paprika, poultry seasoning, and garlic powder. Add the mustard and use your hands to work everything into the chicken. Pour in the buttermilk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Heat 3 inches of oil to 325ºF in a deep cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Combine the flour and Sazonador seasoning in a brown paper bag. Add a few pieces of chicken at a time and shake it like you mean it! Working in batches, fry the chicken until it is beauti-fully brown and crispy on one side, about 15 minutes. Turn and cook until a meat thermometer inserted into the meat registers 160ºF, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
To make the waffles, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggnog, egg yolks, and butter in another bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined; you don’t want the batter to be lumpy or too smooth— just right.
Whisk the egg whites until almost stiff; fold them into the batter.
Heat a waffle iron. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour some of the batter into the middle of the iron, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Close and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Top the waffles with fried chicken, Strawberry Butter, and maple syrup.
For the Strawberry Butter, put the butter in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and blend until smooth. Add the berries and grenadine and pulse until combined, but with small pieces of berry still visible.