Chicken and Waffles
To define exactly what it means for a dish to fall within the realm of Soul Food isn’t quite as simple as it might initially seem. It depends, of course, on one’s heritage, culture and geographic locations. And while June was National Soul Food Month, whatever somewhat nebulous meaning the word may have, it’s a pretty strong consensus that people love it.
“It has such a wide spectrum, and it expands across miles and miles of the world,” says Keith Hicks, owner of Buttons Restaurant at his Addison location. “Take something like Vietnamese food – I would say pho is their soul food. You go in somewhere and get linguine with marinara sauce and that’s like soul food. To me, it’s an honor to say that I cook soul food.”
To Hicks, that category involves what many in the American South would also consider soul food, and one of the dishes for which Buttons is celebrated is their Chicken and Waffles; two different meals combine in this unique dish for a sweet, savory, crispy and wholly satisfying experience.
“It becomes alive in such a beautiful way with how it dances on your tastebuds. You have saltiness from the fried chicken and it touches those sweet glands with the waffle, and then I like to throw in a bitter aspect with some collared greens,” Hicks says. “It all plays together in a whimsical kind of way.”
Hicks shared his recipe for this classic representation of Soul Food as he sees it; the version at his restaurant involves fried sweet potato strings and collard greens for an unforgettable first impression. Fruits and berries work well as a less labor-intensive complement.
- 1 Chicken, cut in 8 pieces
- 6 g (1 teaspoon) Salt
- 5 g (1 teaspoon) Black Pepper, ground
- 5 g (1 teaspoon) Dried Oregano
- 5 g (1 teaspoon) Dried Parsley
- 5 g (1 teaspoon) Dried Thyme
- 15 g (1 Tablespoon) Garlic Powder
- 250 g (2 Cups) All-Purpose Flour
- 40g (2 Tablespoons) Salt
- 20 g (1 Tablespoon) Black Pepper, ground
- 500 g (4 Cups) Flour
- 4 Eggs (separate the yolk from the egg white)
- 900g (1 Quart) Buttermilk
- 450 g (2 Cup) Milk
- 5 g (1 teaspoon) Baking Soda
- 5 g (1 teaspoon) Baking Powder
- 15 g (1 Tablespoon) Vanilla Extract
- 225 g (1 Cup) Butter, melted
- 1 pinch Salt
- 85 g (1/2 Cup) Granulated Sugar
- Mix 6 g Salt, 5 g Black Pepper, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme and Garlic Powder together and apply to the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Meanwhile, mix ingredients for breading. When chicken has refrigerated for at least 4 hours, preheat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large, heavy pot (being careful of the hot oil) to 350F.
- Dredge chicken in flour mixture and fry for 18-20 minutes.
- Beat the egg whites until they stick to the side of the bowl. Set them aside.
- Mix together the Egg Yolk, Milk, Buttermilk, and Vanilla in one bowl.
- Mix the Flour, Baking soda, Baking Powder, Salt and Sugar in second bowl.
- Combine all ingredients in one big bowl and beat until there are no lumps.
- Add 1 cup Melted Butter to the mixture. Stir. Fold in egg whites.
- Spray the waffle iron and lay the lid and cook until golden brown.
by Rich Vana