RECIPE: Melba’s Chicken & Eggnog Waffle


For the chicken:

  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

For the eggnog waffles:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups eggnog
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Cooking spray, for the waffle iron
  • Strawberry Butter (recipe follows), for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving

Strawberry Butter:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 4 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • A few drops of grenadine syrup
  1. To cook the chicken, in a bowl season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, poultry seasoning, and garlic powder. Use your hands to work everything into the chicken. Pour in the butter­milk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Heat 3 inches of oil to 325ºF in a deep cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Combine the flour and extra seasoning in a brown paper bag. Add a few pieces of chicken at a time and shake it like you mean it! Fry the chicken until it is beauti-fully brown and crispy on one side, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  3. To make the waffles, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggnog, egg yolks, and butter in another bowl. Stir the wet ingredi­ents into the dry until combined; you don’t want the batter to be lumpy or too smooth— just right.
  4. Whisk the eggs until almost stiff; fold them into the batter.
  5. Heat a waffle iron. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour some of the batter into the middle of the iron, following the manu­facturer’s instructions. Close and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  6. Top the waffles with fried chicken, Straw­berry Butter, and maple syrup.
  7. For the Strawberry Butter, put the butter in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and blend until smooth. Add the berries and grenadine and pulse until combined, but with small pieces of berry still visible.

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