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National Waffle Day: Savory waffles with mushrooms and braised veal

Make National Waffle Day (Aug. 24) an all-day affair by serving waffles for dinner.

By Blue Kitchen / August 24, 2012

August 24 is National Waffle Day. Savory waffles, flavored with fresh thyme and buckwheat flour, are topped with a mushroom and braised veal sauce.

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Lots of people love eating breakfast for dinner. To me, though, it’s often been more of a meal of last resort. What you eat when you haven’t gotten to the store for more serious groceries, but hey, you’ve got eggs, and the bread is fresh enough if you toast it.

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Blue Kitchen

Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.

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But recently, I stumbled across the idea of savory waffles – can’t remember where now – and breakfast for dinner suddenly became more interesting. For starters, you’ve got waffles, elegant city cousins of the country pancake. They even require their own machine to make – no mere cast iron skillet will do. Whenever my mom hauled out the waffle iron (always on a weekend morning, and certainly never for dinner), breakfast just felt fancier, more fun. 

Then there’s the savory part. Taking something generally meant to be dressed with syrup or jam (or somewhat disturbingly – at least to me – with sugary fruit and whipped cream) and topping it instead with something salty, even meaty, and definitely dinnerish.

Savory waffles is a bit of a misnomer. They’re not overly salty and don’t contain chicken stock or any other umami flavor. They’re just less sweet, a little saltier and more open to pairing with a savory topping. Fresh herbs give them an extra layer of interesting. Some recipes call for using corn meal along with flour, but I feel this takes you down a cornbread path that I didn’t want. Instead, I took a page from the French crêpes notebook. The difference between sweet and savory crêpes is that the latter includes buckwheat flour in the mix; it adds a similarly rustic note without going all cornbread.

Savory Waffles with Mushrooms and Braised Veal
Serves 4

For the mushrooms and braised veal:
1-1/2 pounds veal, cut into bite-sized pieces (see Kitchen Notes)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
flour
olive oil
3 small shallots, chopped and divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade stock, even better)
1 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh parsley
8 ounces sliced mushrooms (I used crimini mushrooms – see Kitchen Notes)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup Marsala wine (or Madeira or dry sherry) [editor's note: substitute same amount with cooking wine or beef broth]
fresh sage leaves for garnish, optional

For the savory waffles:
1 cup unbleached general purpose flour
1 cup buckwheat flour (or another cup of general purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 eggs
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Prepare the mushrooms and braised veal. Season the veal chunks with salt and pepper. In a plastic bag, toss the veal with 1 tablespoon of flour; this will give it a very light coating of flour to help it brown and lightly thicken the sauce. Heat a large, lidded nonstick skillet over medium flame. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the veal. If you have veal bones (I cut up a bone-in arm steak for my veal – see Kitchen Notes), add those to the pan too. Brown the veal lightly on all sides, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Turn the bones a time or two as you stir. Transfer veal and bones to a bowl and set aside.

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