No, no, no, no, NO. In the Coal Region and in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Chicken and Waffles DOES NOT refer to a dry waffle topped with a hunk of fried chicken with some syrup languishing nearby. I get it — I understand that version is popular elsewhere and I, for one, will never disparage anyone’s choices in comfort foods.
But I, dear friends, am a “Coal Cracker”. And WE eat our chicken and waffles the Pennsylvania Dutch way: tender roasted or stewed chicken, shredded and lovingly put to bed atop a hot waffle (homemade or frozen…don’t sweat the small stuff) and bathed in rich, smooth, creamy chicken gravy.
It seems the farther away you get from Pennsylvania Dutch country and Northeast PA, the less people know of this version of an out-of-this-world comfort food. I have had this many times for Sunday supper (which is what we call “dinner” here. In the coal region, you will often hear the meal you eat at noon referred to as “dinner” as opposed to “lunch”.)
Make your own waffles if you prefer using your favorite recipe or use a good quality frozen waffle. Don’t beat yourself up if you do not make the waffles from scratch. Because I am keeping it as easy as possible in this recipe, I am leaving out any waffle recipes. Great served alongside creamy mashed potatoes.
Keeping It Simple
Leftover chicken and gravy from a previous meal is the perfect answer for this comfort food coming together quickly. Just toast up some frozen waffles and top them with hot shredded chicken and gravy! You will have a hearty, family-friendly entree in minutes.
Pennsylvania Dutch/Coal Region Chicken and WafflesCourse: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionCuisine: EntreeDifficulty: Easy
Tender chicken, shredded and lovingly put to bed atop a hot waffle, then covered with gravy.
1 batch of your favorite waffle batter or your favorite frozen variety
Vegetable or canola oil
2 pounds bone-in, skin on chicken pieces (breast and thigh work well)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 rib celery
1 medium carrot
1 small onion, peeled
pinch of saffron if desired (optional but adds nice color to the broth)
28 ounces low-sodium chicken broth, plus water to cover chicken
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold water
- Heat oil in a large pot over high heat.
- Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Add to pan and brown on both sides. Add celery, carrot, onion (saffron if using) and broth.
- Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot; cool, remove fat and bones and pull apart into small pieces.
- Skim excess fat from the broth. Discard the vegetables. Mix the flour with the water until a smooth slurry is formed.
- Bring the broth to a boil. Add the slurry gradually, stirring constantly to prevent forming lumps. You want a rich, fairly thick gravy. If desired, stir in a Tablespoon or two of cream off the heat.
- Taste for seasoning. Add the chicken and keep warm over very low heat.
- Meanwhile, make the waffles according to your favorite recipe or toast up some frozen ones. If necessary, place in a 200 F oven to keep warm.
- Serve the waffles topped with chicken and gravy.