Waffles with Chicken Gravy is NOT your usual chicken and waffles recipe. I’ve had Chicken and Waffles, and while they’re delicious, this is not that recipe. I mean, this IS delicious, but it’s not fried chicken on a waffle with maple syrup. BUT what it is, is one of my go-to recipes for What to Do With Leftover Roast Chicken.
With my family of four, who are all generally moderate eaters, we can usually squeeze a second meal out of a whole roasted chicken. I know your situation may differ, but from time to time it’s nice to have a recipe for when you DO find yourself with some leftover chicken, but perhaps not enough for each person to have a whole piece of chicken.
I’ve never seen this recipe before in a cookbook, but it’s something my mom served us, growing up, that we absolutely begged for. Mostly, I begged for waffles for dinner because I knew that for dessert, I’d get waffles with brown sugar syrup. I used to try really hard to get some melted butter, and some brown sugar syrup, into each “communion cup” of the waffle.
Don’t ask me how my brain comes up with these things, but each little indentation of the waffle reminded me of the tray of communion cups filled with grape juice on Sunday mornings, that I helped Sister Atkins empty and wash, after church. (The cups were made of glass when I was a little bitty girl, and made the most satisfying and sophisticated “clink” as they went back into the tray! Sister Atkins let me drink the grape juice, when she was washing the glass cups, which was a true treat. Don’t tell anyone, but I may not have been all that holy, in terms of being a helper. I was in it for the grape juice.)
Anyway, back to dinnertime at my house, growing up, to get to the waffled communion cups of buttery/brownsugary goodness, I first had to make it through a waffle topped with chicken gravy. Some sacrifice, right? I guess mom wanted me to get a little protein, and for sure, she wanted that leftover Sunday roast chicken cleaned up. So, Monday night was sometimes waffle night, and I cherished waffle night.
I have a feeling that this is truly a retro recipe, since I’ve never seen it elsewhere. Could be Mom got the idea out of the newspaper. Maybe “Hints from Heloise” suggested this budget-friendly meal. Mom was always reading and clipping recipes from home cooks that were shared in our local newspaper. Or maybe someone surviving the Depression (as my Mom did) came up with the idea to fill growling tummies on not much meat. I wish she were alive so I could ask her where she got the idea from, of waffles with chicken gravy. It may be a frugal meal, but it’s absolutely delicious!
When my husband and I got married, and mom passed away 5 months later, I started craving the waffles of my youth, and so I did my best to replicate Mom’s chicken gravy by looking in one of her cookbooks, The Joy of Cooking. I don’t know that she ever used it to help her make her own white sauce/béchamel sauce/chicken gravy – she was an experienced enough cook that she might not have needed to, but The Joy of Cooking is filled with all the basics, and from it, I learned the basics of making a white sauce.
In making waffles for this post, I experimented a bit to try to improve the dish, trying a new sauce recipe, and a new waffle recipe, but have concluded that what I’ve been making for years is still better than any of my newer efforts at improvement.
Sometimes, the old fashioned ways are the best. 🙂 And I kind of love that.
One of the things that makes my version SO delicious is that I use the chicken from this recipe: Boonie Sooze’s Roast Chicken. I pour about a cup of wine over my Roast Chicken with vegetables, and there is this wonderful sauce in the bottom of the pan. So it’s this sauce that is flavoring my chicken gravy! Imagine the goodness of chicken drippings, and herbs, and carrots, potatoes and shallots, and white wine, all incorporated into your chicken gravy! It has so much flavor! So while I do make a basic white sauce, I add every bit of goodness from the leftover roast chicken that I can to my gravy: nothing goes to waste! (I feel my Mother’s approving smile beaming down from heaven. 😀 ) The leftover sauce is usually kind of congealed and jelly-like in the bottom of the container that the chicken was stored in. If you haven’t saved your chicken drippings or juices, if, say…you brought home a rotisserie chicken from the store and are wanting to use this recipe, I’d try upping the flavor ante by at least adding some herbs into your sauce. Maybe a bit of freshly chopped rosemary or thyme that you’ve steeped in the milk you use for the sauce, would be nice.
Hints for making a Béchamel Sauce:
A Béchamel or white sauce is basic, and easy to learn, so don’t be scared if you haven’t made one before. Just remember to cook/lightly brown the flour and butter mixture (which is called a roux – and pronounced “roo”) for about 3 minutes, before you add your liquid. Otherwise, your sauce will have a raw pasty flour taste, which, you don’t want. Then add your liquid, and keep stirring. It may seize up at first, when you pour the liquid in, but just keep stirring. Your liquid can be milk or chicken broth, or a combination thereof. (You could even add a splash of wine for some of the liquid, but you’d need to cook the alcohol out, or your sauce will taste boozy.) Then add the shredded chicken, and stir till everyone in the hot tub is happy, and sufficiently warmed up. Voilà, chicken gravy.
Hints For Making Waffles:
The best hint I know for making waffles is to whip my egg whites separately into peaks, and then fold them into the batter. It makes the waffle’s texture lighter and more tender, while giving it a slightly crisp exterior. Also, since I don’t keep buttermilk on hand, I typically make my own substitute for buttermilk, which is simply 1 T. of vinegar for each cup of milk. Therefore, for this recipe, which calls for 2 c. of milk, I put 2 T. of vinegar into the glass measuring cup, and then fill the cup with milk to the 2 c. measuring mark.
Waffles With Chicken Gravy
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 eggs, separated
- 2 c. buttermilk
- 1/4 c. butter, melted
- roast chicken from half of a leftover roasted chicken, shredded into bite sized pieces
- 1 T. minced onion
- 4 T. butter
- 4 T. flour
- 3 c. milk (or your 3 c. liquid can be 1/2 chicken broth, and 1/2 milk along with any leftover chicken drippings from your roast chicken)
- 1/4 t. salt
- a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
- Combine flour, soda, and salt; set aside. Combine egg yolks, buttermilk, and melted butter; add to flour mixture, stirring until blended.
- Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; carefully fold into batter. Cook in waffle iron; I keep my waffles warm in my oven, laying them directly on the rack, until I am ready to serve them all to my family.
- In a saucepan, cook the minced onion in the butter for a few minutes, until the onions are softened. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don't let it brown — about 2-3 minutes. Add the milk in a stream, whisking vigorously until the mixture is thick and smooth, add the salt and the white pepper, and simmer the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is thickened to the desired consistency. Add the chicken, and stir it for a minute or two until the chicken is warmed.