Happy New Year, everyone! I hope everyone had a great time and that the year is going excellently! I apologize for the hiatus, but things should be calming down for me, especially after this week, so I hope to be more regular with my posting, again.
I’m going to start with an old classic this year: Chicken and Waffles! My fiance is excellent at making these, so we’re going to be using his recipe and pictures. As a special treat, we also went to a restaurant in Normal, IL called For Jesse Cafe, but that’s for later. For now, we’ll start with our homemade version.
First he makes his waffle batter and gets that cooking in the waffle iron while the chicken gets prepped and cooked. He just uses a simple waffle batter, so it can really be whatever you want; even a boxed batter (like a pancake batter) will work. Really the only difference between a pancake and a waffle is that a pancake is pan-fried while a waffle is cooked in an iron. They use the same exact batter, so whatever suits your fancy.
Next, it’s time to work on the chicken! You might want to set your station up like he did here. We used chicken breast tenders. They’re the easiest to bread and fry, and they’re usually already boneless and skinless. Saves you a lot of time from cutting chicken. Dip your chicken in the following order: flour, egg, breadcrumbs. This will ensure that the breadcrumbs will stick to your chicken, which is what gives it that satisfying and delicious crunch.
Now comes the tricksy part: the frying. Sure, you could pan-fry them, but what’s the fun in that? We like to go the crunchy delicious way, deep frying!! Put your oil in a saucepan, heat it up (but not too hot!!), and fry away! You want them to be a nice golden brown color and cooked all the way through. Don’t overcrowd your pot, otherwise they won’t cook all the way.
Once everything is done, it’s time to plate! He placed the chicken next to the waffles, but you can also put them right on top and then smother the whole thing with syrup.
And now for the restaurant-style! We went to a restaurant called Fort Jesse Cafe in Normal, IL. It’s a really cute cafe with a decor that’s meant to be reminiscent of an era gone by. Translation: It can be a little hipster. If you’re into that (which I’m not a hipster, but I do like their stuff!), then you definitely need to hit this place up. I’d recommend getting there early, though! We went there for lunch and we had almost an hour wait to get a table.
When we did get a table though, it was definitely worth it. I had cornmeal pancakes with a blueberry jam and pulled pork, and my fiance had the chicken and waffles (it’s one of his favorites). The pancakes definitely had that cornmeal flavor, but not in a bad way. Unfortunately, the pulled pork had a little too much of a kick for my liking; I have a really light palate when it comes to spice, though. For the chicken and waffles, there was almost more chicken than waffle! The chicken was nice and tender, though, and had great flavor.
I’d highly recommend checking this place out if you’re ever in the area. It’s cute and has great food for pretty decent prices! Check them out! https://www.ftjessecafe.com/