The ultimate comfort food
I make Belgian waffles all the time. I make chicken tenders all the time. But I had never served them together prior to recipe testing for my Kentucky Derby Party. Southern food isn’t really my thing – Californian, Greek, Mediterranean, and Caribbean food is my thing – but I absolutely love homemade chicken tenders and big, glorious Belgian waffles so I thought that would be the perfect main course to serve at my Kentucky Derby Party!
This is comfort food at its finest. Homemade chicken tenders sit on a mountain of creamy pimento cheese on a fluffy, warm waffle and then the whole thing is smothered with a Bourbon maple syrup and a sprinkling of chives from the garden. I mean, come on. This is the stuff of dreams.
This recipe might seem daunting but it’s not at all. Make the waffle batter first thing in the morning and let it rise in the fridge all day. Buy great pimento cheese or make it days before your party. Soak your chicken tenders in buttermilk in the morning. When your guests arrive, put someone on waffle duty and get to work on the chicken tenders. It’s fast and painless if you have your bowls properly arranged and can quickly dredge ‘n’ dip. It took about twenty minutes to get dinner on the table. Easy peasy!
Haven’t heard of pimento cheese? Pimento cheese is a popular cheese spread in the south that usually consists of grated cheddar cheese, mayo, seasonings, and pimentos. You can easily make it yourself but we have an abundance of excellent pimento cheese options here in Texas.
At first I thought there was no way that maple syrup would work with pimento cheese. When I tested this, I poured a teeny amount of maple syrup on a corner, took a bite, and my eyes popped out of my head like a cartoon character. I know it sounds weird but trust me, it’s divine.
The maple syrup has a splash of bourbon in it. It’s so simple to make: you just warm the two together in a sauce pan. The smell is out of this world. In fact, here we are gathered around the stove smelling the bourbon maple syrup. If I ever come out with a candle line, Bourbon Maple Syrup is going to be my best seller.
Without further adieu, here is my recipe for Chicken and Waffles!
- Scoop a generous amount of pimento cheese on top of warm waffles. Stack two homemade chicken tenders on top. Drizzle with bourbon maple syrup. Sprinkle with chopped chives. Serve immediately.
Make 6 large waffles
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
6 Tbsp butter, melted
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir until just combined. It’s okay if the batter is a little lumpy. I like my Pyrex for this job so I can tell how much the batter grows.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. The batter will begin to bubble. Set bowl in the fridge until dinner.
- Preheat your waffle iron. Spray with cooking spray (unless you have a nonstick waffle iron) Spoon batter onto iron, close the lid, bake for the recommended amount of time for your machine until the waffle is golden brown. Mine takes 5-6 minutes.
1 lbs organic chicken tenders
1 cup buttermilk, low-fat
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt, dried oregano
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
- Rinse chicken tenders and pat dry. Place in a gallon ziplock bag and cover with buttermilk. Zip shut and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Pull chicken out half an hour before you want to make the dish. (Never cook meat straight from the fridge!) When ready to make tenders, season flour with salt and oregano and put in a shallow dish. Pour Panko in a shallow dish. Crack an egg in a third shallow dish and beat lightly with a fork.
- Preheat electric skillet to 325 degrees. Pour just enough vegetable oil to cover the electric skillet. When hot, pull each tender out one at a time, allowing access buttermilk to drip off. Dredge in seasoned flour, then dip in egg (make sure all sides are coated), then cover with Panko breadcrumbs. (I like to set it in the Panko, press down slightly, then repeat on the other side.) Set in electric skillet and repeat with remaining tenders, working quickly.
- Cook about 4-5 minutes per side or until deeply golden.
Bourbon Maple Syrup
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
1/8 cup bourbon
- In a saucepan, heat maple syrup and bourbon over a low flame. Serve warm.
Read more about my Kentucky Derby Party here. Watch the episode: