Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffles

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Excerpted with permission from SOUL: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes.
This recipe is as American as apple pie. Yet most every culture has a version of it. I prefer to brine all birds before cooking for best flavor and texture.

4 cups (32 ounces) water
1 cup (8 ounces) whole buttermilk
6 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
5 cups (40 ounces) vegetable oil
Seasoned Flour (recipe below)
Sweet Potato Waffles (recipe follows)
Maple syrup

Step 1

1. Stir together 4 cups water, buttermilk, and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; add the chicken pieces to the brine. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 28 hours.
2. Heat the oil in a deep cast-iron skillet over medium. Remove chicken from the brine, and let any excess liquid drip off; discard the brine.
3. Dredge chicken in Seasoned Flour to coat; add to the hot oil, 1 piece at a time. Cook, turning every few minutes, until golden and a meat thermometer registers 165°F. Drain on paper towels. Serve chicken on Sweet Potato Waffles with maple syrup.

Step 2

Makes 4 (8-inch) round waffles.
1 medium-size sweet potato
1⁄4 teaspoon blended olive oil

2 cups (about 8 1⁄2 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk
1⁄2 cup (4 ounces) whole buttermilk
3 ounces (about 1⁄3 cup) butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon maple extract
2 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the potato with the oil. Bake in the preheated oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat a Belgian waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. Stir together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
3. Peel and mash the sweet potato, and stir into the milk mixture. Stir milk mixture into the flour mixture. Pour about 1⁄2 cup of batter onto hot waffle iron, and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions until golden brown.
To Drink: Blanc de blancs Champagne, blanc de noirs Champagne, Chardonnay, dry Riesling, rosé, sparkling rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, amber beers, dark beers, hard ciders, IPAs

Serve with: Egg dishes, green salads, braised vegetables

Step 3

Seasoned Flour
Every Soul and Southern kitchen has a good all-purpose seasoned flour to use for frying. This will keep for months in a cool, dry place or even longer in the freezer.
Seasoned Flour
Makes about 2 1⁄4 cups
2 cups (about 8 1⁄2 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1⁄2 tablespoons granulated onion
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and store in an airtight container.

Step 4

Ready to serve anytime.
Excerpted with permission from SOUL: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes.

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