The people are going to be up in arms after they see this.
I might have to hide from every born and bred southerner that I know.
In fact, I wouldn’t even be surprised if Emeril and Paula Deen come a-knocking. And demand to know what’s what.
I won’t have any idea what to say.
I’ll probably have to offer them some tea mixed with Ambien. It will be my only recourse.
People can be very protective of their fried chicken and waffles, you see. And here I am.
A Yankee, of all people, who has never in her life had real serious fried chicken and waffles.
Doing all sorts of disastrous things to them.
For example. I baked the chicken. And spiced it up. With some tepin chiles. Those little red balls down there. That’s them. Ain’t they cute and innocuous looking. Don’t be fooled.
They’re hot baby. Damn hot.
And then I smothered it. Neither in gravy nor tried and true maple syrup. But in a juniper-infused pomegranate maple syrup.
I know you have no idea what juniper is. I didn’t either until it arrived on my doorstep last week.
It’s a berry. It tastes kind of like pine. It’s beautiful when simmered with pomegranate juice for an hour and then mixed with maple syrup. And that’s all you really need to know.
Okay so at this point you are asking yourself whether, during birthday week, I have drank so much tequila that I am now speaking in tongues. Not so.
Here’s what happened.
MarxFoods invited me to participate in their Ridiculously Delicious challenge. I said hands down absolutely yes.
So they sent me 8 random ingredients. Most of which had weird unpronounceable names.
I could pronounce all of them. Except for maybe the “szechuan” in szechuan peppercorns. I’ve never really done well with that one even though every other Chinese take-out place in this city uses it in it’s name. And that, my friends, is why I don’t eat Chinese take-out. Excessive, I know. But that’s how I roll.
My point is that they’re not the kind of ingredients that you find in your local supermarket. Iranian saffron. Coconut sugar. Grains of paradise. Dill pollen.
Those kinds of things.
And so when I saw this list of eight things. I singled out the tepin chiles and juniper berries. And thought to myself that I should make fried chicken and waffles. No rhyme or reason other than that it just seemed like a good idea. I didn’t even own a waffle iron before this.
But I followed my dreams. And they led me here. I now own a waffle iron and shall be eating these fried chicken and waffles for the next four days. And damn. I couldn’t be happier.
Oven-Fried Tepin Chile Chicken
Serves 4, inspired by Amy of Very Culinary
2 cups cornflakes
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp paprika
1/2 – 1 tbsp tepin chiles (1 tbsp makes for a VERY hot piece of chicken)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 lb chicken thighs
1 can evaporated milk
1. Preheat the oven to 400. In a food processor, process the cornflakes, thyme, paprika, chiles and salt until cornflakes and chiles are ground well.
2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Pour the evaporated milk into a shallow bowl. Pour the cornflake mix on to a plate and spread it out so that it’s even. Dip each chicken thigh, first in the milk, and then in the cornflake mix, pressing it on so that it sticks to the entire thigh. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.
3. Put the baking sheet with all of the chicken on it in the oven.Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Juniper-Infused Pomegranate Maple Syrup
Makes about 1 cup
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp crushed juniper berries
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1. In a small nonreactive pan, combine the pomegranate juice, sugar, juniper berries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer until mixture has thickened to the consistency of a thick syrup, about 30-40 minutes. Pour into a bowl through a slotted spoon, removing the juniper berries. Allow to cool. Mix with maple syrup. Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
Makes 5 Belgian waffles, adapted from Emeril
2 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs, separated
2 tbsp sugar
2 cups almond milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a bowl, sift together the AP flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved and the eggs are a light yellow. Add the milk, butter, and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the flour to the egg-yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Make sure not to overblend.
3. In a third bowl, beat the egg whites using a hand mixer until they are stiff enough to form soft peaks. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle mix. Be sure not to overmix.
4. Preheat your waffle iron per manufacturer’s instructions. Spray with cooking spray. Pour in as much batter as the instructions recommend, I used the full measuring cup that came with the waffle iron. Using a spatula, spread the batter out over the waffle grid. Close the waffle iron and cook per the manufacturer’s isntructions for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter.
Top waffle with a piece of oven-fried chicken and smother it in juniper-infused pomegranate maple syrup.
This is my entry to the MarxFoods Ridiculously Delicious competition! Please remember to vote for me from March 1 through March 4!