Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicken Waffle Pie w/ Yeasted Multigrain Waffles

Ever since I got an old waffle iron at Goodwill (since replaced with a new retro Black & Decker) I have been disappointed with the waffles I made. The ones from a mix were passable but never had that crispy crust and tender interior I loved from the make-your-own Belgian waffle station in my college dining hall. My attempts to make them from scratch were even worse - rubbery and bland. Then, while researching my pretzel project, I came across a recipe for yeast-risen waffles which promised the qualities I was looking for.

They were the perfect foil for a fave of mine, Chicken Waffle Pie. Basically a chicken pot pie filling served over waffles. As much as I love chicken pot pie, pastry dough is fattening and time consuming (plus butter is $3.50/pound). Waffles can also be toasted separately, which makes for a more freezable recipe.


I followed this recipe, but I replaced 1 cup of white flour with 3/4 cup of whole wheat and 1/4 cup of multigrain flour. Actually, I didn’t have multigrain flour but I did have some rye, oats, barley and wheat hot ceral I don't care for, so I ground it by hand with my mortar and pestle for a couple minutes (you could use a mini food processor but mine’s a pain to clean). I also added 1/4 cup of some Mexican malt milk powder I had around.

These are supposed to be “overnight” waffles so I was worried about making the batter at 11 p.m. and then using it the next day at 7 p.m. (that’s 20 hours in the fridge) because some recipes said “no more than 16 hours” but it all worked out. I had to add a 1/4 cup of milk to the batter to thin it out a little. Otherwise, they came out great.I used 1 1/2 tsp. of instant yeast.

Optional: If you want to make waffles only for the chicken as opposed to saving some for breakfast, adding “better than bouillon” to the milk in the recipe and throwing in 4 tbsp. of thyme, dill, parsley etc. or even some cayenne can really kick it up a notch.

A few caveats: These rise in the waffle iron more than regular waffles so use a little less batter per batch. With my old-school 4-waffle iron, I had to spread no more than 1 cup of batter – I did 1/3 in each of the four compartments and had a waffle volcano. Also, they cook fast so the old waffle-making trick about waiting for the steam to stop will result in overcooked waffles. Use your nose.

Chicken Pie Filling

3 pounds chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized cubes; Flour for dusting; 2 onions, chopped; 1 20-oz bag frozen mixed vegetables; 1/2 cup white extra-dry vermouth or white wine; 2 cups chicken stock (better than bullion works great here), 2 tbs. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dry), 1/2 tsp. cayenne, 1/4 stick butter, 1 small can evaporated milk or heavy cream.

  • Toss chicken cubes in flour (season flour with salt and pepper if you wish) to lightly coat. Heat butter in 12” skillet and add chicken carefully un one layer. Brown and flip. When browned on all sides, remove chicken from pan and put aside.
  • Sauté onion in pan over medium-low until soft, ass vermouth to deglaze pan, scrapping brown bits (unless using a nonstick pan)
  • Add vegetables and chicken and half the chicken stock and heat on med-high until boiling, stirring frequently (but don’t use metal spoon on a non-stick pan). Mixture should thicken; keep adding the rest of the stock in 1/4 cup increments until thick enough to stay on a waffle but just a little gloppier than you would want to eat. Then, off the heat, stir in evaporated milk or cream
  • Serve over two waffles. Freeze separately from wrapped waffles so that filling can be nuked and waffles toasted.

Notes: This recipe calls for dark meat for several reasons: White meat is easy to overcook and that’s even truer when freezing and reheating. In fact, when people say they don’t like dark meat, it’s usually because dark meat tends to be undercooked, leaving it chewy and gross. In this recipe, you cook it long enough so that it is tender. It’s also cheaper. I use vermouth here in place of white wine because an open bottle keeps for a long time. This recipe works for a reg. pot pie or biscuit-topped casserole too, just add a little more water for a thinner consistency since baking will further thicken.

Frugal Factor: Readington Farms Free Farmed chicken thighs, $1.89/pound at Shop Rite ($5.67); 2 onions, $0.60, frozen veg, $2.00; 5 oz can evaportated milk $0.60; 2 cups chicken broth, $0.80 (better than bullion, free if made from leftover bones after cutting up chicken); vermouth, $1.25 (1/3 of a $4.00 355 ml bottle); 3 cups flour (2 2/3 cups for waffles and rest for dusting chicken), $1; 1/2 yeast packet, $0.25; 3 cups milk @ $4.00/gallon = $0.75; 2/3 stick butter @ $3.50/4-sticks, $0.58 (waffles and chicken) = $13.50 for 8 generous portions, $1.69/portion.

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