Holy crap. These gluten-free chicken and waffles are amazing. And that mole recipe! Wow.
We ate these things until we hurt. Actual physical pain. The gluten-free waffles were a savory masa-based slice of heaven, plus we decided to put a bunch of chipotle and hatch chilies in them, which made them seriously spicy-addictive. The mole was filled with big flavors, from roasted and charred tomatoes and peppers to this solid dose of cinnamon that just felt perfect with the waffles, especially with this lovely background hint of dark chocolate. This dish was creamy, rich, complex, and awesome!
This recipe does call for a waffle maker, which is at least partially how this ended up being a joint project with my father (I don’t actually own a waffle maker). Dad’s a fantastic cook, and I just love playing around in the kitchen with him. He created this awesome savory masa waffle, and then had tons of fun adding chilies not only to the batter, but also decoratively right in the center of the waffles! If you aren’t scared of a little extra heat, these were so fun to eat! However, you can dial back the spice by not adding extra peppers to your batter, or just adding a few small pieces. No matter what you decide, these waffles would be amazing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
We decided to sauté the chicken thighs rather than deep frying them. It was a healthier option, plus there was way less fuss and mess without the batter, oil, frying, draining, and so on. This way was so simple! We seared the thighs and then just tossed them in the oven until they were cooked all the way through. Inexpensive and easy, plus now we could go crazy with the mole without worrying that an awesomely crispy batter would get soggy under all of that sauce.
The mole recipe is thickened with wonderfully healthy almonds, sesame seeds, and also charred tortillas, but otherwise it’s pretty a simple sauce with tomatoes, onions, garlic, chicken stock, spices, and chilies. Go ahead and use whatever chilies you want!
Holy crap. These gluten-free chicken and waffles are amazing! Click To Tweet
I really recommend grabbing a small can of chipotles in adobo; if they aren’t available in your local grocery store, you can usually find them at the nearest Mexican market, or, as always, right on Amazon! Dried chilies are easy to find in exactly the same places, and if you look around, you can usually find a bunch of them for a really low price. (They keep for a seriously long time.) It’s usually pretty easy to find ancho and pasilla peppers, and those are absolutely perfect. If you want to stick to one kind, you’ll still have a great mole recipe, but using a couple of different kinds will give you a more interesting flavor.
The recipe for these waffles makes two big waffles, which break into four squares each. We found that with the chicken thighs and mole, that was plenty for four people! We also wound up with almost a quart of mole to spare, which was great! This mole recipe will not only stay good in the fridge for a surprisingly long time, but it will also freeze beautifully for months!
The garnish for these babies, is, as always, totally up to you. I’m always a fan of some crunchy salt, like Maldon, but you might want cilantro, sesame seeds, scallions, sour cream, grated cheese, sliced chilies, or fresh avocado. Actually, we even discussed adding some lime-heavy fresh guacamole to go with our feast next time. The brightness and acidity might be a fun counterbalance to the richness and intensity of the mole recipe and the chicken thighs.
Healthier Gluten-Free Chicken & Waffles with Killer Cinnamon Chocolate Chipotle Mole Recipe
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
- 1 Tbs oil
- salt, pepper
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup masa harina
- ½ cup gluten-free flour substitute (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill for already mixed, but always swear by the ATK blend if you’re willing to mix your own.)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted + slightly cooled
- 2 tsp honey or maple syrup
- 2 tbs chipotles in adobo or hatch chilies, chopped (or whole chilies!)
- ¼ cup canola oil (or lard if you have it!)
- 6 ounces dried chiles (any combination of ancho, pasillas, guajillo,…) – stems and seeds removed (For dried chilies, it’s way easier to do this while they’re still dry. Just pull off the stems and shake out the seeds!)
- ¼ cup hot water
- 1 medium onion - cut in ½
- 6 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup raw almonds with skin
- 2 Tbs sesame seeds
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 2 corn tortillas
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1 jalapeno
- ¼ cup chipotles in adobo
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 Tbs dark chocolate, grated or roughly chopped
- 1 Tbs lime juice
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Generously season the thighs on all sides with salt and pepper
- Get a pan that can safely go in the oven hot over high heat, add the oil, and then carefully add the chicken thighs skin-side down. (You can also sear the chicken and then move it to an oven-safe pan or tray.)
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the skin starts to become golden and crispy 6-8 minutes.
- Carefully flip the thighs over and cook for 4-6 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and move to the oven.
- Cook until the thighs are done all the way through or until a thermometer registers 165 at the center, 45-60 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
- Preheat your waffle maker to just over medium heat (grease or butter if necessary)
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Whisk the egg until pale yellow, then whisk in the milk, melted butter, and honey.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Let sit for 7 minutes. The batter will become thick and puffy.
- Scoop half of the batter onto the hot waffle maker and spread gently with a spatula. Sprinkle the chilies over the batter.
- Cook until golden brown. We cooked it for almost three more minutes after the indicator light went off. With this batter, more time is necessary. Pay attention to the color!
- Remove from heat and cut into four pieces.
- Heat a pan, preferably cast iron, until very hot. Add the chilies and char lightly. Remove from the pan and soak in hot water for at least 10 minutes.
- In the same pan, char the tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic, and onion. Remove from pan, and when cool enough to handle, chop roughly.
- Add the tortillas to the hot pan and char. Remove from heat and chop roughly.
- Warm the oil or lard in the same pan. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeños and tomatoes and saute until soft. Add the spices, chilies, and chipotles in adobo and cook for 3-5 more minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the almonds, sesame seeds, tortillas, and raisins with a good pinch of salt.
- Simmer over a low heat at least until everything is very soft. If you have the time, let it cook very gently on the lowest setting for an hour.
- Remove from heat, remove the cinnamon stick, and puree until smooth. Return to a low heat and stir in the chocolate. Season with salt and lime juice. If the sauce is thicker than you want, add water until it is the consistency you like.
Top the waffles with chicken, mole, and any other garnish you like (cilantro, jalapeño slices, green onions, avocado, or whatever you like!) Enjoy!
Looking for more fun recipes?
If you like this recipe, you might also want to check out the Black Bean and Avocado Quesadillas (with a super yummy salad!), Quick and Easy Non-Traditional Vegetarian Tamales with Spicy Tomato Sauce, or everybody’s favorite, Enchiladas with Homemade Red Sauce and Lime Sour Cream!
Of course, if you’re looking for healthy chicken recipes, you might like the Spicy Citrus Chicken Breast or the Roast Chicken with Charred Radicchio and Fennel!
If you’re looking for healthy salads, you might want to try the Light and Fresh Feel-Good Citrus and Avocado Salad, the Charred Corn Salad with Jalapeños and Wilted Onion, or the Roasted Beets with Arugula and Herb “Pesto!” Of course, you might be in the mood for a Cellophane Noodle Salad with Fresh Calamari and Herbs!
Of course, you might just be looking for more Healthy Dinner Recipes!
Can’t find something specific? Let me know! I’m always looking for more fun ideas to play with.