March 30, 2015
gaufres de poulet
(chicken waffles)
When I’m doing my happy dance in the kitchen, I get accused of having too much fun playing with my toys. Mostly I think of my varied and sundry tools as a valuable part of my kitchen life, but I guess one or two really are toys. Certainly my baby‑blue mini‑waffle maker qualifies as a toy. At $14.99, I wasn’t too worried about buying a serious appliance that would last a lifetime. I was more concerned with it working once or twice. I’ve now used it four times, and it’s still working. I like playing with my toy.
When I bought it I was think about making chicken and waffles as an amuse‑bouche. I also thought about making a waffle version of a crêpe complète, a buckwheat crepe with ham, cheese, and eggs. Mine was to be a gaufre complète. The waffle batter I came up with rose nicely and tasted good, but the waffle maker wasn’t hot enough to make the outside brown and crisp.
So back to the chicken and waffles. I didn’t look at how others had approached the concept. I wanted my own slant. I thought about making a closed‑face sandwich with two waffles and an open‑faced sandwich with one. Both seemed a tad large for an amuse‑bouche. After tossing around many ideas for a couple of days, I decided the best way to make chicken and waffles was to—pun alert—eliminate the middle “and” and just make chicken waffles.
I thought first about using my waffle‑patterned silicone mold to provide shape to the waffles. I created a simple ground‑chicken mixture, filled the mold cavities with the mixture, froze it in the mold, vacuum packed it, and set it in warm water to cook.
Before the molded chicken had finished cooking, I remembered my toy waffle iron. I pulled it off the shelf, plugged it in, waited a couple of minutes for it to reach full heat, placed a gob of the chicken mixture between the irons, and latched it close. About two minutes later, the sizzling slowed down, the grease was running onto my counter, and my first chicken waffle was done. It looked like a waffle and tasted like chicken. Amazing.
I did finish cooking the ones in the rubber mold, but decided that they wouldn’t get past my breakfast the next morning. I liked the chicken waffle made in the waffle iron. No waffling about it!
500 g (1110 lb)
skinless chicken thigh meat with its attached fat, ground through the finest plate on a hand‑operated meat grinder
9 g (112 t)
fine salt
12 g (1 T)
smoked paprika
10 g (1 T)
ground pistachios or almonds
212 g (1 T)
dried sweet basil flakes
0.5 g (very small pinch)
curing salt (6.25% sodium nitrite)
maple syrup
1. Using a rubber spatula, combine all the ingredients except for the maple syrup. Mix rapidly until the mixture is homogenous and sticky. Divide the chicken mixture into 20‑g (710‑oz) portions, and form them into thick disks.
2. Preheat an electric waffle iron capable of making 5‑cm (2‑in) round waffles. When hot, place a disk on each waffle pattern and latch the cover closed. Cook until the sizzling appreciably slows, about 2 minutes. Remove the batch of waffles. Let the iron come back to heat before starting next batch.
3. Individually freeze the waffles. Vacuum pack in bags of 4 or 6 waffles, depending on the number of guests you normally serve at once.
4. To serve, bring the waffles, still in their bag, to serving temperature in boiling water. Heat a couple of tablespoons of syrup. Serve the waffles on individual plates. Pass around the syrup in a small pitcher.
Yield: 40 waffles.

© 2015 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.