Pennsylvania Kitchen: Vegetarian ‘Chicken’ & Waffles

We love how chefs’ minds work. It’s one of their special gifts to the world to be able to look at the contents of a fridge or pantry and conjure up something unbelievably tasty out of available ingredients. Often, their creativity, combined with knowledge and skill, enables them to create dishes that are so awesome, they leave the rest of us wondering: Why didn’t I think of that? 

This is pretty much the scenario that took place in our second Pennsylvania Kitchen video with Chef Josh Fidler. He set out to make a breakfast version of PA chicken & waffles — one of our all-time favorite classic PA dishes — that would honor the traditional version, which is with a chicken gravy on top (as opposed to fried chicken). Fidler transformed this into more of a breakfast dish with a creamy, decadent gravy (as opposed to brown gravy), and noted that a dippy egg or two on top is never a bad idea.

Then, Chef Fidler did that cheffy thing that we admire so much and pulled together this super cool recipe, going a step further to make it locally-focused by using Hen of the Woods mushrooms (also known as maitake mushrooms) sourced from Kennett Square. Plus, it’s a fun take on the name of the dish, right?

These extra-meaty mushrooms are grown in large clusters; expert forages can often find them growing wild in the forests of the Northeastern United States, though we prefer to play it safe and just buy them from the market. Cooked down in some butter, Hen of the Woods take on a luscious umami flavor, which melds perfectly with the creamy, herb-laced gravy that’s made in the same pan. The finished dish, a yeasted waffle smothered in this glorious mixture, is the stuff breakfast dreams are made of.

After you’ve watched the video, check out our recipe for Vegetarian “Chicken” & Waffles!