I love blank slate foods, the ones where you can put your own twist on what is already a good thing, and make it amazing. Waffles are definitely blank slates. Sure, they taste great warm, topped with your choice of syrup, but why not change things up a bit? Savory waffles are a fantastic choice for lunch or dinner. And dessert waffles are good anytime!
Pinterest has many waffle recipes, and one that is re-pinned over and over is for several versions of a hashbrown waffle recipe. Immediately, I wanted to make a Waffle House-esque “scattered, smothered, covered and chunked” version for dinner. For those of you who may not speak Waffle House, this is the Southern restaurant chain’s code for their grated hash browns “scattered” on a hot grill, “smothered” in diced onion, “covered” with a slice of American cheese and containing chunks of ham. Top that with a fried egg and I’m a happy camper.
I quickly discovered that there are tricks to making delicious hashbrowns on a waffle iron. You must pull almost all the moisture out of your shredded potato, or they will not crisp up. The recipe I used called for filling a clean dish towel with the shreds and wringing them out. Potato water stains, so use an old towel. Also, inexpensive waffle irons don’t heat up hot enough, causing you to double, then triple your cooking time. If you’re like me and you didn’t wring out the potato shreds enough, and you have a cheap waffle iron, be prepared for a long wait and a strangely colored waffle that is not crisp. The taste was great, but the look and texture left a lot to be desired. Pinterest fail.
I had better luck with pepperoni waffles, paired with a marinara dipping sauce. For those, I used a basic waffle recipe, filled the iron partway, added thin slices of pepperoni and a bit more batter. These waffles are tasty, kid friendly food!
My favorite waffle recipe is a summer dessert, best with fresh fruit (but you can sub frozen fruit in the winter). For my Bourbon Peaches & Cream Waffles, I use Martha Stewart’s rich, buttery batter recipe to make waffles the consistency of thin slices of shortcake, and top them with peaches cooked in a bourbon cream, and a dollop of whipped cream (although vanilla ice cream would be nice).
So break out your waffle iron and peruse the contents of your fridge. Make savory waffles with bits of diced chicken, green chile and Monterey Jack cheese, or maybe use up the last of your deli ham with a bit of shredded swiss cheese. Syrup can be replaced with cheese sauces, hollandaise, or squeeze a few stripes of sriracha mayonnaise across your waffle. Let your imagination and creativity run wild! Do you have leftover fajita meat and a dollop of refried beans? Perfect for a waffle studded with diced fajitas. Use the refried beans as a spread, and top it off with a layer of queso and a bit of guacamole or sliced avocado, and you’ve just made your first Tex Mex waffle.
Bourbon Peaches & Cream
2 large peaches
2 Tb butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 pinch salt
1/8 cup bourbon (I use Maker’s Mark)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Peel and slice peaches. In a medium saucepan, add butter, brown sugar, salt and cook over medium high heat until all sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to medium and cook an additional 5 minutes or so, until sauce begins to thicken. Add bourbon and cream, and stir well. Add peaches, and cook until they soften.