You read that right, it is chicken and waffles... on the same plate... and served with hot maple syrup. Three items I love separately, but never eat in combination. On a recent SoCal trip I drove past the Pasadena location of Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles at least a dozen times, noting the colorful sign but never stopping. I can't count the times I've driven that same route for decades and never even considered stopping. Well that funky neon sign finally stamped some subliminal chicken and waffle thought into my brain, because I found myself trying an adapted version in my home kitchen. After years of turning my back on this Southern California classic, I finally gave in. What can I say?
Shock!, a standard sourdough waffle topped with a piece of chicken (spatchcocked and roasted, not breaded-and-fried like Roscoe's) and served with hot maple syrup worked as a satisfying, late-night entree. Each bite was a perfect mix of tender, flavorful chicken contrasting with the crispy, crunch of the waffle shell; every forkful enhanced with a drizzle of warm maple syrup. Sweet and savory bliss in one bite. I might not dine on chicken and waffles ever again, but now I understand the appeal. This dish must be one of the reasons that Roscoe's has been popular for decades.
Sweet chicken anything isn't often an appealing choice, I prefer my chicken with a savory, tangy sauce. I remember carrying on about that in another post years ago, but chicken and waffles did prove to be weirdly tasty. I wonder if any restaurants in the Pacific NorthWest offers an irresistible chicken and waffle dish on their menu. I really should try the original at Roscoe's on my next Pasadena trip. Or not. Maybe some time after I score a great fish taco or an In'n'Out burger.
Meanwhile here at home, my favorite waffle-combo dish remains Dynamite Chili with Chili Cheese Waffles, wonderful and weirdly tasty in its own way.
Basic Sourdough Waffles
3 large 4-section waffles in my old, traditional waffle iron
4-6 smaller round waffles in the Belgian waffle iron
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a tablespoon or two of warm water
1. Put the starter in mixing bowl; add egg, sugar, salt, and oil. and almond extract. Mix well with wood or plastic spoon. Thin with water as needed to get consistency of loose pancake batter.
2. Dilute the soda in a tablespoon of warm water. Add the baking soda at the last minute, when you’re almost ready for the batter to hit the iron. Fold the soda water gently into the sourdough batter. Do not beat it in heavily, you want to encourage the bubble formation, not defeat it. The batter will fill with bubbles and increase in bulk. It's ready when it is fluffier.
3. Ladle batter onto a preheated, well-oiled (Belgian) waffle iron; cover quickly and bake until done. For me that means crispy brown on the outside and soft in the middle.
Note: a Belgian style waffle iron isn’t essential, you can use another style, but we love the deep holes that hold extra butter and syrup.