Chicken and Waffles on a PlatePA Dutch Treat, Chicken & Waffles

Learn a little of the history behind this favorite dish.

During the cold, damp months of winter, there is nothing like a stick-to-your-ribs dinner, like many of the meals we enjoy in Pennsylvania’s American Region. One of our favorite local entrees, chicken and waffles, certainly fits the bill.

How did the PA Dutch come to create this dish? Deitsch Eck Restaurant owner, and chef, Steven Stetzler shared some history on the dish, as well as his recipe. Interestingly, waffle irons, complete with floral designs, were invented by the Pennsylvania Dutch during Colonial times. Originally, the irons, were mostly square, but then became circular in design. The circular iron allowed the woman of the house to produce more waffles at a time, making it easier to feed a large family. Of course, chickens were always available. Along with gravy, the duo soon became a popular and tasty topping for the waffles.

The classic PA Dutch recipe calls for the use of the entire chicken. To make chicken and waffles, carve the bird into small pieces, and place it in a deep pot, filled with water.  Cook the chicken on the stove top until the meat is so tender, it falls off the bones. Back in the day, onion, carrots, celery, and seasonings created a chicken broth. The broth is then strained of vegetables and bones, and placed back on the stove top to boil. (Today, store bought chicken stock can be used with pepper to create the broth.)  A mixture of water and cornstarch is then added to the broth as a thickening agent, so it can become a gravy.  Next the chicken is removed from the bone, and the fat is discarded. The pieces of tender chicken are placed on top of the plated, homemade waffles, then topped with the homemade chicken gravy for a delicious, and thoroughly satisfying meal.

Our Pennsylvania Dutch chicken and waffles, differs from the southern version of the dish. In the South, the recipe calls for the chicken to be fried, instead of boiled. Our Southern neighbors also use syrup instead of gravy on their dish. You would be hard pressed to find this rendition of chicken and waffles in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region. It’s so interesting to see how the recipes are alike, but different. If interested in trying the PA Dutch style chicken and waffles, head to one of our restaurants that specialize in PA Dutch cuisine for a taste.