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Edward Lee's adobo-fried chicken and waffles

Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013

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Pittsboro, NC - Chef Edward Lee stopped in Fearrington Village in Chatham County to promote his new cook book "Smoke & Pickles" and to serve up some of the recipes from his book. Below is his recipe for adobo-fired chicken and waffles.

I'm not sure who first thought of serving fried chicken and waffles together, but if adding waffles helps you to feel better about eating fried chicken for breakfast, I'm all for it. This is a Filipino adobo, not the Spanish version. The vinegar brightens the richness of the fried chicken and helps with digestion. Add more or fewer chiles, depending on how much heat you like.

This is my kind of soul food. Serve with Kabocha Squash Mac 'n' Cheese and Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale from Boulevard Brewing Company. And invite me over if I happen to be in your town.

Chef Edward Lee at Fearrington Village in Chatham County, NC.

Feeds 6


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk


1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 fresh Thai bird or habanero peppers, thinly sliced


2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt


2 pounds chicken, thighs and/or drumsticks, plus wings if desired (do not use breasts)
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
About 8 cups peanut oil for deep-frying

1. To make the waffles: Preheat your waffle maker and lightly oil it. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, paprika, and black pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, and butter-milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients a little at a time, whisking constantly.

2. Cook the waffles according to your waffle maker's instructions. Cut the waffles into 2-inch-wide wedges and reserve on a plate at room temperature or keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve.

3. To make the dipping sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

4. To make the adobo broth: In a large pot, combine all the ingredients, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down as low as it will go.

5. Arrange the chicken pieces on a work surface and season them with salt. Add the chicken pieces to the gently simmering broth, cover, and poach for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through. You want the chicken to poach gently and stay moist while picking up the flavor of the broth, so make sure the liquid does not get hotter than a gentle simmer. Turn off the heat and allow the chicken to cool in the liquid, covered, about 20 minutes.

6. Remove the chicken pieces from the adobo broth (discard the broth) and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Pat dry.

7. To fry the chicken: Pour the buttermilk into a large shallow bowl. In another bowl, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, the paprika, and the pepper. Dip each chicken piece in the buttermilk, shake off any excess liquid, dredge in the flour mixture, turning to coat, and transfer to a large plate. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. The flour coating will turn a little soft—that's a good thing.

8. Meanwhile, fill a large, deep cast-iron skillet about half-full with peanut oil. Heat the oil to 365°F. Cook the chicken pieces 2 or 3 at a time for 8 to 10 minutes, turning every minute or so, depending on how thick the pieces of chicken are; wings will cook faster and drumsticks will take the longest. Be sure to keep the oil temperature at around 350 to 365°F. The chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F. Using tongs, lift the chicken out of the oil and drain on paper towels. Season again with a little salt, and transfer to a platter.

9. Serve the fried chicken with the waffle pieces and the dipping sauce. Eat it hot!

Excerpted from Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee (Artisan Books). Copyright 2013.

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Edward Lee's adobo-fried chicken and waffles
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