Thursday, March 20, 2014

savory chicken and waffles with crispy panko-cheddar crumbles and bacon

After a string of takeout meals and way more pizza than anyone should consume in a three day period (if that's even possible), I thought today might be a good day to make something tasty at home. The kicker? I didn't want to go to the store for ingredients, and figuring out something to make with what I had on hand was proving difficult. 

Bacon, eggs, Greek yogurt, cheese, frozen chicken. When you already had eggs for breakfast, that list doesn't sound too promising.

The one thing I kept coming back to was waffles. 

It might help to mention that my family's waffle recipe is a savory sour cream waffle. Considering Greek yogurt can often be used as a substitute, I suppose it makes sense. 

Of course, when you have a fiancĂ© who gave up sugar for Lent, you have to be creative when doing a breakfasty food for dinner. While I grew up eating pancakes and waffles plain with my hands (as much as my parents tried to get me to use a fork it just never took. I don't eat toast with a fork, why would I use one for a plain waffle? Because logic), I realize most people prefer their carby goodness drizzled with syrup and whatnot. 

At this point, I thought maybe I could put the chicken to good use, too. Chicken and waffles, people! We like to keep bags of Trader Joe's flash frozen chicken thighs on hand, which are awesome in a pinch because you can cook them straight from frozen. You know what they're not good for? Fried chicken. 

Enter: crispy bacon crumbles and panko-crusted cheddar. Yes, yes please. 

This dinner was surprisingly easy to throw together, and we felt pretty fancy eating it! Bonus points for having leftover waffles for breakfast tomorrow. 

Savory Chicken and Waffles with Bacon and Cheddar crumble

1 batch waffles (see below)
1 boneless, skinless chicken thigh per person
3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 cup cheddar, chopped or shredded
1 cup panko
4-5 scallions greens, chopped

Preheat oven to 375*. Season chicken with salt and pepper, bake for about 30 minutes if fresh, 40-45 minutes if frozen. While the chicken is cooking, fry bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel, leaving the bacon fat in the pan. Mash the panko and cheese together, and drop the mix in the bacon pan. It really helps to have a good non-stick pan for this so the cheese doesn't stick. Let the panko crisp up for a few minutes before stirring the whole thing around, breaking it into pieces as you go so it's kind of crumble-like. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is nice and golden. 

For the waffles (makes 6-7): 
1.25 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder 
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups sour cream (ideally. You can use Greek yogurt but it won't have quite the same tang! Consistency-wise it's an even trade, though)
Pinch of salt

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Beat egg yolks and egg whites separately I used a fork for the yolks, but you want to beat the whites to a soft peak. Mix egg yolks, sour cream and butter into the dry mix until well combined and smooth. Fold egg whites in and give that batter some body! Once everything comes together, cook the waffles in your waffle iron to the doneness you like. I usually do a bit past medium. If you get the waffles cooking about 10 minutes before the chicken is done, they should time pretty well. If you don't need all of the waffles, they freeze well!


When the chicken and waffles are both done, assemble your plate by topping a waffle with a piece of chicken, and finally topping with the panko-cheese crumbles and bacon. Sprinkle scallions over top and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!