Enjoying chicken and waffles together has surged in popularity in recent years driving this southern dish into the heart of the Midwest.  The unexpected combination is celebrated for being a revelatory blending of soft and crispy textures and sweet and salty flavors.  

My quick-cooking version serves to enhance these characteristics. Transforming cornbread, a fried chicken side-dish mainstay, into waffles is a whimsical little trick and the denser texture plays beautifully off the crunchy pan seared chicken.  Salty pretzels aid in achieving a deep fried texture with l little more than a quick pan fry in limited fat. 

Even though the chicken hasn’t gone for a full on swim in a vat of bubbling oil, this indulgent carbohydrate laden dinner is best enjoyed as a special treat after hours of shoveling snow.   Finish the dish with a flourish of pure maple syrup and a few fresh apple slices and wait for the warm feelings only a hearty meal can bring as a blizzard rages outside.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken and Cornbread Waffles

Four Servings

For the Pretzel Coated Chicken:

  • 4 All-Natural Skinless-Boneless Chicken breasts (about 5-6 ounces each)
  • 2/3 Cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4C pure maple syurp 
  • A few dashes of hot sauce 
  • 1 Cup pretzels, coarsely crushed 
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil

For the Cornbread Waffles:

  • 1-8.5 ounce box cornbread mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 Cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

For the plate:

  • Fresh Arugula
  • Fresh Sliced Apple
  • Additional maple syrup

For the Chicken:  

Trim the chicken breasts and pound a uniform ¾” thickness and set aside.  Pour the flour into a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Beat the eggs, maple syrup and hot sauce in a second shallow bowl.  Place the pretzels in a third shallow bowl and season with black pepper. 

Dredge the chicken in the flour to coat, shake off the excess and dip into the egg mixture.  Press the egg washed chicken into the crushed pretzels coat well.  Melt the butter in the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet until melted and bubbly.  Add the chicken to the pan and sear on one side without disturbing for 4 minutes.  Flip the chicken and sear on the second side for 4 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low and allow the chicken to finish cooking in the pan for 3-5 additional minutes or until cooked through.  Remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest while you prepare the waffles.

For the Waffle:

Heat a  waffle iron until hot and ready to use.  Combine the cornbread mix, egg, milk, syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir briskly to combine.  Spray the hot iron with non-stick spray and add ¼ of the batter to the iron.  Close and allow the waffle to cook until crisp and golden brown.  Repeat until you have made four waffles.

To Plate:

Slice the chicken in half lengthwise and arrange the halves in a large bowl or on a plate with a waffle, arugula leaves and sliced fresh apple.  Drizzle the chicken and waffles with additional syrup and serve at once.

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