Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and Waffles is not all about fried chicken! Not at all! Pennsylvania created the first version!
My heritage is pretty boring. The family comes from a long line of people in rural Pennsylvania. Like real rural. Our town has had the same number of people in it for over 150 years. Granted it’s pretty big for a rural area (under 10,000 people), but very few people leave. People die, and their descendants move in. My aunt lived in the same house she was born in until she had to go to a nursing home. My family has lived in that town for going on 300 years. We have one grocery store, who’s headquarters happens to be in town. One hotel. The most popular restaurant is a hot dog palace, with five stools. We have history, but we are definitely small town America.
The biggest thing that we have going for it (outside of having the a first by Thomas Edison) is our Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. No, this does not mean we are Dutch, no matter what anyone tells you. We are German, through and through. And we are very proud of our Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and its cooking.
The History of Chicken and Waffles
Pennsylvania has lots of ‘war’ over the invention of foods. Whoopee Pies with Massachusetts is one. Our biggest one is Chicken and Waffles. There are two types, for those of you ‘not in the know’.
Soul Food Version
Most of the United States knows Chicken and Waffles as fried chicken on top of waffles, drizzled with maple syrup. They assume it was created in the South, because it sounds southern. However, there is no basis in history for this in old cookbooks. Most of the people who create the dish now state the original creation was in restaurants, jazz clubs, and supper clubs in Harlem in the 1930’s, making it more a soul food dish. It was created for those who were too late for dinner, but too early for breakfast.
Pennsylvania Dutch Version
However, the Pennsylvania version of pulled stewed chicken with a thick gravy served over waffles stems back to the mid 1850’s. It was considered a big deal for Sunday food at the dinner table, at church meetings, and at community fairs. Waffles is used in place of mashed potatoes (or in addition to), to sop up all that yummy gravy. There are some hometown restaurants in PA (we are the only state that calls it by by the postal abbreviation, not the full name), where they will serve waffles with a pitcher of the gravy as an appetizer.
Learn More About Chicken and Waffles Food History
Chicken and Waffles Recipe (PA Dutch Style)
- 1/2 whole (or 2 pounds) chicken, I use dark meat, because it has more flavor
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 stalk celery, whole
- 1 medium carrot, whole
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut in half
- 1 bay leaf
- 29-32 ounces chicken broth or stock, about
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Your favorite brand of frozen or homemade waffles
- Heat a bit of oil in a skillet, to keep the chicken from sticking.
- Add the chicken to the pan that has been seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Brown the chicken. Usually takes about 15-18 minutes total.
- In a crockpot add the chicken, vegetables, broth and bay leaf.
- Cook 6 hours on high or until the chicken is tender.
- Take the meat out of the crockpot.
- Remove the skin, take the meat off the bones and cut into small pieces.
- Remove excess fat from the broth by skimming a spoon across the top.
- Discard the veggies and bay leaf.
- Mix flour and water until smooth.
- Slowly add the flour mix, stirring constantly on as high as heat as you can crank the crockpot to. Continue to cook the broth until it is a gravy consistency. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
- Add the chicken back to the gravy to rewarm.
- Pour over toasted waffles.
Adapted from www.geniuskitchen.com
- You can eat the veggies if you want, cook’s prerogative
- Alternatively, dump the broth into a stockpot and put it on the stove over high heat to make the gravy.
- Make sure the waffles are toasted well. If barely toasted, they will not soak up the gravy correctly.
And there you have it! Chicken and Waffles. A homemade, comfort food from days of old. I know it sounds weird, but it is rather tasty. And it’s really one you can’t mess up. Give it a try, my diyhomegoddesses! You won’t regret it. You can get a downloadable recipe here.
What is your favorite comfort food?