Soul Foodie: ‘Late Nights & Early Mornings’ Are Better With Jerk Fried Chicken Tenders & Red Velvet Waffles

Soul Foodie Soundtrack: Marsha Ambrosius "Late Night & Early Mornings"

You awaken from a sleep bathed in the intensity of the night before. You look to your right and notice your dance and romance partner has quietly exited the stage where they gave a performance worthy of a Kennedy Center Honors. But what's that sweet yet savory smell wafting through the air instantly causing your stomach to growl? You tip down the stairs to find them in the kitchen serenading your senses with the lovely aromas of breakfast, using their culinary prowess to seduce your palate into another round of rhythmic harmony. You gaze into the kitchen, and you see that they've put in work as if they were union paid. It was definitely a late night, and now its an early morning. Time for some chicken and waffles -- Late Nights Jerk Fried Chicken Tenders and Early Mornings Red Velvet Waffles, that is.

Red velvet. Those two words conjure thoughts of simple sensualities the mouth enjoys. In her song "Late Nights & Early Mornings," Marsha Ambrosius laces us with some red velvet of the R&B/soul kind. Every lyric and note dripping with subtle sweetness and filling your ears with robust flavors begging you to take another bite. She gets a little spicy, too, just like a succulent piece of jerk fried chicken filled with intense flavor.

These Late Nights Jerk Fried Chicken Tenders and Early Mornings Red Velvet Waffles will have your partner singing your praises, and whet their desires for another round -- a repeat performance, if you will -- of this culinary delight. Combined cooking time is approximately 50 minutes, leaving ample time for an encore.

Late Nights Jerk Fried Chicken Tenders

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders
4 tablespoons jerk marinade or jerk seasoning
1/2 cup flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
Peanut or canola oil, for frying

Add the chicken to a large, resealable plastic bag and then add the jerk marinade to the bag. Coat chicken evenly with marinade, seal the bag well, and refrigerate all day or overnight. Add the flour to a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture. Pour approximately 1 inch of oil into a large, nonstick skillet. Put the skillet on medium heat and heat the oil to 365 degrees F using a deep-fry thermometer to measure. Add the chicken tenders to the hot oil, browning on both sides approximately 8-10 minutes per batch. Remove chicken from oil and place on a wire rack or paper towel to drain. Repeat to cook remaining chicken. Serve hot with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.

Serves 6

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Mix mustard, honey, and sugar together. Then add the mayonnaise. Blend and serve with Late Nights Jerk Fried Chicken Tenders.

Early Mornings Red Velvet Waffles

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring

Preheat waffle iron. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and stir together. In a food processor, add the buttermilk, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and red food coloring. Pulse to blend the wet ingredients together. Spoon in half of the dry ingredients into the food processor, pulsing to blend before adding the last of the flour mix. Spray hot waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon 1/4 cup of the batter evenly onto the waffle iron. Bake as directed by the manufacturer. Remove waffles as they are done and keep warm until all are cooked. Serve warm with Cream Cheese Glaze on top.

Serves 6

Cream Cheese Glaze

4-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese, sugar, butter, and vanilla in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until smooth. Scoop a generous dollop unto Early Mornings Red Velvet Waffles and serve.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

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