In the Kitchen: Chicken and Waffles
Paired with Orange Beers
A staple in the South, chicken and waffles is treated to a Northern spin in this recipe that evokes memories of Thanksgiving dinner. This any-time-of-day meal features roasted chicken instead of the usual down-home fried variety. While you can use prepared ingredients, make it from scratch for a rewarding experience that’s worth the effort. Pair with a beer brewed with blood orange. The lively citrus flavor complements the cranberry sauce and gives the dish a brunchlike vibe. Makes 4–6 servings.
The Roasted Chicken
1 (3- to 4-pound) free-range chicken
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 sprigs fresh sage
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Drippings from the roasted chicken
1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups hot water
The Cranberry Syrup
2 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light-brown sugar
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup water
2 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast side up in a cast-iron skillet. Gently pull the skin up from the top of the neck bone and slide two fingers down the back to the bottom of the chicken, loosening the skin from the entire backbone area. Massage 2 tablespoons of the softened butter under the loosened skin, then put the sage sprigs under the skin and pat the loose skin down. Mix the salt, pepper and paprika with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to create a paste and gently massage that mixture over the entire bird.
3. Roast for 50 minutes or so, until the wings and legs wiggle loosely and the juices run clear or the chicken reaches 165 degrees F at the thickest point of the thigh. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Then pull off the meat and shred it or cut it into bite-size pieces.
4. To make the gravy, place a skillet over low heat and add the drippings from the chicken pan. Cook until they reach a slow simmer and begin to darken. Gradually whisk the sifted flour into the drippings and let cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Add the hot water, raise the heat to medium-high and let simmer, whisking constantly, until the gravy thickens and reaches a creamy consistency. Pour into a separate container or gravy boat and set aside.
5. To make the syrup, combine the cranberries, granulated sugar, brown sugar, orange juice and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Let simmer until the berries have popped and the syrup has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Pour the contents through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl; use a whisk to work the syrup through. Let cool to room temperature.
6. For the waffles, grease and heat a waffle iron.
7. Combine the self-rising flour, granulated sugar, milk, eggs, and oil in a large bowl and mix until well blended. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the waffle iron and cook until golden brown and crispy. Repeat until all the batter is used up. (If you want to keep waffles warm while you finish cooking, set them on a tray in a just-warm oven.)
8. To serve, place a waffle in the center of a plate. Top with 1/2 cup of chicken meat, pour 1/4 cup of gravy over the chicken and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of cranberry syrup.
The Chef’s Pairings: Orange Beers
Brewers continue to experiment with specialty ingredients, pushing the boundaries of flavor. Since a good beer deserves a good meal, All About Beer Magazine tested a few beers infused with oranges and here offers tasting notes and pairing suggestions. Get more pairing ideas and recipes at allaboutbeer.com/food.
Evil Twin Sanguinem AurantiacoABV: 3.25% | Sour Ale w/ Blood Orange
Tasting Notes: If O.J. is the official juice of breakfast, this beer is a strong contender for brunch. The first sip causes an involuntary pucker followed by a dry, refreshing finish. In between is lively, deep, just-dried orange pulp, a smack of lemon and a hint of sweet wheat. Served in a large-format bottle, it’s just right for alfresco dining on a warm Sunday.
Sudwerk Farmers Market Citrus Gose LagerABV: 6% | Gose w/ Navel Oranges
Tasting Notes: A kitchen sink full of ingredients and flavors (with Mosaic and Sorachi Ace hops). Salty and acidic with faint notes of pineapple, mango and lemon. Murky orange in color and finishing on the savory side, it’s rather shandy-esque. Pair with a grapefruit and fresh beet salad with mixed greens, shaved Parmesan and thin-sliced prosciutto.
Grimm Sumi ZestABV: 11.5% | Imperial Stout w/ Blood Orange Zest & Vanilla
Tasting Notes: There’s no mistaking the boozy nature of this beast, and, thanks to the vanilla, it could be easy to think this spent time with bourbon-soaked wood. Roast coffee and dark chocolate are apparent, and the citrus is bright yet restrained, adding a slight tingly punch to the finish. Multi-layered. Keep dessert simple: a scoop of real vanilla bean ice cream topped with a sprig of fresh mint.
John is the editor of All About Beer Magazine and the author of three books, including The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Find him on Twitter @John_Holl.