Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers "Chicken & Waffles" with Pecan Crusted Turkey Tenderloins, Cornbread Dressing Waffles, Vanilla Bean-Pecan Butter, Brandied Cranberry-Maple Syrup, & Brown Butter Fried Sage

Thanksgiving Leftovers "Chicken & Waffles" with Pecan Crusted Turkey Tenderloins,
Cornbread Dressing Waffles, Vanilla Bean-Pecan Butter, Brandied Cranberry-Maple
Syrup, & Brown Butter Fried Sage
Well, our first Friendsgiving dinner has come and gone, and I'm pretty sad about it. It was a lot of fun, and we had wayyyyyy too much to eat. But, there's always, always, always room for leftovers. And yeah, I know there are some Thanksgiving Leftover Purists out there who just want a plain old sandwich. But not me, I try to come up with something crazy & different every year. Just a couple weeks ago I made a tartine, and that was delicious, but I knew this time, I had to make something bigger + better. I couldn't help but think of wanting to make one of our favorite meals, chicken & waffles, into a leftover extravaganza. I started with my favorite buttermilk waffle recipe and then added in some of our cornbread dressing to turn them into these bread pudding-like crispy waffle cakes. Seriously, it has an outrageous texture and taste on its' own, but then you top them with some pecan crusted tenderloins that have been fried to perfection, a few tabs of a homemade vanilla bean-pecan butter, a healthy drizzle of brandied cranberry-maple syrup, and brown butter fried sage... and well, my friends, you are certainly in Thanksgiving Heaven (I'm pretty sure that's a real place, don't worry). It was the perfect brunch this morning, but honestly, I could go for these "chicken & waffles" at any time during the day. And you should too!! Enjoy :)
For the Pecan Crusted Turkey Tenderloins
6 Turkey Tenderloins (or chicken can be substituted, as well as pork)
1C Toasted Pecan Pieces (ground into a pecan meal)
2C AP Flour
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
1C Buttermilk, Well-Shaken
3 Eggs, Beaten
1T Hot Sauce
Vegetable Oil, For Frying

For the Cornbread Dressing Waffles:
¾C AP Flour
¼C Cornstarch
½t Baking Powder & Sea Salt
¼t Baking Soda
½C Buttermilk
½C Milk
1/3C Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
2t Sugar
½t Vanilla
1 ½C Leftover Cornbread Dressing or Stuffing

For the Vanilla Bean-Pecan Butter:
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Softened
¼C Toasted Pecans, Finely Chopped
1t Sugar
¼C Vanilla Extract

For the Brandied Cranberry-Maple Syrup:
½C Leftover Cranberry Sauce
½C Maple Syrup
¼C Brandy
Salt, To Taste

For the Thanksgiving Leftover Chicken & Waffles:
Pecan Crusted Turkey Tenderloins, Fried until Golden Brown & Crispy
Prepared Cornbread Dressing Waffles, Cooked & Warm
Prepared Vanilla Bean-Pecan Butter, Cut into Tabs
Brandied Cranberry-Maple Syrup, Warmed
Brown Butter Fried Sage, For Garnishing

1. For the Pecan Crusted Turkey Tenderloins: Heat the oil, over medium-high heat, in a large cast iron skillet. In food processor, finely ground the pecans. Combine the pecans with the flour. Season the flour and tenderloins with salt & pepper to your liking. Whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and hot sauce. Dredge the turkey tenderloins in the pecan flour, coating each piece completely. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk egg wash, coating completely and letting the excess drip off.  Dredge them again in the pecan flour. Fry the turkey for roughly 6-8 minutes or until there is no longer any pink in the meat. The outside should be golden brown and crispy. Drain the fried turkey on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt & pepper. Keep these warm until you are ready to serve.
2. For the Cornbread Dressing Waffles: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk together to blend. In another mixing bowl, beat together the whole milk, buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk just until incorporated and few lumps remain. Add in your leftover dressing or stuffing and mix to combine. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes. Preheat a waffle iron. Fill waffle wells and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The waffles should be crisp and golden brown. Keep them warm until you are ready to serve.
3. For the Vanilla Bean-Pecan Compound Butter: In a mixing bowl, mash and smooth out the butter with a fork. Add in the vanilla bean seeds, toasted pecans, sugar, and vanilla extract and mix until it is smooth, making sure that all of the component are mixture thoroughly and distributed throughout. Keep it at room temperature or refrigerate until you are ready to spread it onto your waffles.
4. For the Brandied Cranberry-Maple Syrup: Heat the leftover cranberry sauce and maple syrup over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add the brandy and some salt to taste, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the brandy infuses into the syrup and it thickens slightly. Keep warm until ready to serve.
5. To Assemble the Turkey & Waffles: Place two cornbread dressing waffles in the center of your plate and spread with the softened vanilla bean-pecan butter. Top the waffle with another tab of the butter and the crispy pecan crusted turkey tenderloins. Pour the brandied cranberry-maple syrup all over your plate and garnish with brown butter fried sage leaves. Enjoy it while it’s still warm!


  1. This sounds wonderful. I hope to be able to try this recipe for myself soon. Thank you.

    1. It was pretty spectacular and a one-of-a-kind dish, I'm just sure you'll find another one quit like it :) Lemme know how it turns out whenever you make it!