On many dinner menus, there’s options for both vegetarians and meat-lovers. Most commonly, beef burgers or veggie/bean burgers.
But there are some things that are rarely a vegetarian option: Chicken & Waffles.
So today, I’m changing it up! We are using fresh chopped cauliflower, breading it, then baking it in the oven. I had this with both chicken pieces and cauliflower pieces, and guess what? When I put them together on the same plate you could NOT tell the difference! Of course, they tasted different, but looks wise it was a total guess. I love using breaded cauliflower because I’ve never been a huge fan of the vegetarian/vegan meat options that ‘tastes just like meat’, they seem too artificial. Just like my last chicken recipe, I breaded the chicken and cauliflower in cornflakes. It adds a great, crispy flavor to the chicken (and cauliflower).
Now comes the waffles! These waffles are soooo good! I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve ordered chicken & waffles they’re way too sweet. One time, the waffle tasted like an actual funnel cake and the other time the chicken breading was sweet maple flavored! Not that it was a total waste, they were a great eating learning experience. I’ve learned that hot sauce is important, and you need a thick crispy waffle. Thick, crispy, cornbread waffles with a touch of rosemary! They’re perfect – just a bit sweet with the subtle hint of rosemary.
You must make your own hot sauce! I always thought good hot sauce had to be prepped days in advance. But this is a butter based hot sauce (yeah, not necessarily heart healthy, but everything in moderation, as my dad would say!) and you just add all the spices and boil if for a few minutes. Speaking of my dad, he is a total meat lover! Anytime I cook something without meat, he’s the first one to notice and complain how he’s going to be hungry later. But not this recipe, my dad happily ate the meal and even enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day!
I think it’s safe to say, both vegetarians and carnivores will be satisfied with this meal!
Oven Baked Chicken (or Cauliflower) & Rosemary Cornbread Waffles with Spiced Hot Sauce
|Yield: serves 6 - 8 people|
Title says it all - crispy, rosemary waffles topped with cornflake breaded chicken and cauliflower served with a side of homemade hot sauce.
- For Chicken & Cauliflower:
- 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped in bit size pieces
- 1/2 pound chicken thighs, cut into small nuggets
- 1 - 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 - 3 cups cornflakes, finely crushed
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- For Waffles:
- 1/6 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon rosemary
- For Hot Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- pinch of cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (ideally one baking sheet for cauliflower, one for chicken).
- Make the Chicken & Cauliflower: In three separate medium bowls place flour in one, milk in second, and cornflakes mixed with thyme and salt in third. Bread the chicken then the cauliflower - coat with flour, dip in milk, cover with cornflake mixture. Bake chicken for 7 - 10 minutes (depending on size and thickness). Bake cauliflower 30 - 40 minutes, until golden brown.
- Make the Waffles: In a small bowl, mix the oil, eggs, honey, and milk. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, rosemary. Add egg mixture to dry ingredient. Cook waffles according to waffle iron manual.
- Make the Hot Sauce: Place all hot sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and melt over medium heat. Keep warm until ready to serve. Note: as hot sauce cools, it will thicken - reheat again to thin sauce.
- Assemble: Place a few pieces of chicken and cauliflower on each waffle. Drizzle with hot sauce, sprinkle with extra rosemary.