One of my favorite things to make is chicken and waffles. I realize it’s not a very well known dish, especially outside of America. Its origins aren’t quite agreed upon, but the popular belief is that it was devised in a soul food kitchen in Harlem, NY. It became more popular in restaurants across California, most notably Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, CA, which has been mentioned in many outlets of pop culture over the decades. This dish isn’t served nation wide though, and I think that’s a travesty. I remember hearing it referenced in movies and thought it was an amazing combination, so I decided to work on my own recipe.
I’ve served it to family and friends a few times, however it was never quite perfect. The recipe itself is good, the ingredients and flavors are all there, however since I moved to Kentucky, I’ve had a hard time getting it to cook just right. I read every article and recipe for fried chicken, but for some reason it kept browning too quickly but remaining raw in the middle. The thoroughly cooked pieces tasted okay, you could get a hint of what I was going for, but it was still over cooked and I was too embarrassed to serve it to guests. I decided to sit down and work out the problem, because I really wanted to show off my perfected brine and batter recipes.
I slowly began removing ingredients from the batter one by one thinking maybe one of my spices was burning, I tried different oils with different smoke points, I even changed my brine process completely… I trouble shot the issue as the computer analyst I am. After weeks of experimenting and pounds of chicken and flour, I finally figured out what was causing the inconsistency. I’m use to electric ranges, and my current stove is gas. Not only that, but there aren’t any settings on the knobs, it only says OFF and HIGH, so finding the perfect temp is impossible. I also didn’t think of the repercussions of putting the chicken in the oil before it came to room temp. So I got an oil thermometer and found the perfect temp, it finally turned out nice and golden brown, perfectly crisp, and juicy. After I sorted out the scientific details and my husband approved of the flavor, I was ready to throw a party!
I bought a home bar a couple weeks ago and decided it would be a great opportunity to play bartender as well. I made up a cocktail list including some Kentucky favorites and a couple inspired by my time in Texas. I decided this Tatyana Boutique dress was the perfect thing to wear since the mid century modern cocktail print played on my retro bar theme.
I was excited to slang drinks and cook for my friends, but I was also a little overwhelmed because I have to do the waffles and chicken in small batches. I talked my husband in to handling the waffles after I made the batter, and then I began the tedious task of making chicken. The oil temp was finicky, which I expected, but dinner ended up being about an hour and a half late because I had to wait for the temp to regulate after each batch. Cooking chicken for 6 people a couple pieces at a time is very time consuming, but oh so worth it! Everyone raved over my chicken (except my vegetarian friend, whom I gladly provided vegan sausages for) and everyone gladly went home with leftovers. My cocktail list also went over well, I managed to make drinks in between frying each batch and everyone enjoyed the libations.
My dinner party went off without a hitch! I was so exhausted when everyone left, I was literally limping around the house because my legs hurt so bad from standing over the stove and behind the bar all day but it was all worth it, I made a dinner to remember. I can’t wait to have more people over because I love to play hostess!