By Beverly Barbour
Chicken in the pot is always in good taste
Chickens have flown the coop and come from being Sunday special meals to quick and easy, economical meals. How wonderful for the working woman and for the family budget. However, inexpensive chicken still be gussied up a bit and land on the dinner table set for company.
My mother, and maybe yours too, used to cut up a chicken, dredge the pieces in seasoned flour and brown them in butter, along with a bit of onion. That done, she would pour cream and milk over them, cover the cast iron pan with its heavy cover and slip the lot into the oven to come to terms with itself. Ambrosia! I loved it, especially the gravy of course. Served with mashed potatoes and any vegetable, it was a meal to bless Sundays for.
Today, we don't have to wait for Sunday to have a special meal made with chicken. Chicken has become one of the best buys in the protein section of the market.
Served with rice, noodles or wild rice this is the "family treasure" according to my dear friend, C.J. Christian. I am going to try to give this to you in her own inimitable words.
3 tablespoons butter
Heat butter and oil in heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Brown the frying chicken pieces until they are golden. Remove pieces from skillet as they brown and place in a large casserole. Sauté the onion slices and when they are nicely golden brown, sprinkle them with flour; stir well to distribute the flour over the onions. (This will be a thick glob but don't worry about it). Then slowly stir in tomato sauce. Now fill the can twice with dry white wine and stir this altogether. It will smell divine. Add salt and pepper and pour this loveliness over the chicken in the casserole. Cover and bake at 350 F. for about 1 hour. Halfway through the cooking time stir in the mushrooms that you have sautéed briefly in butter, or simply add a small can of sliced mushrooms. Makes 3 to 4 servings.
Chicken Pot Pie the Easy Way
You can double this recipe and freeze 1 pie, wrapped well, for a quick and easy dinner to have on hand when you have a time crunch. The recipe is a good way to use leftover cooked chicken or turkey. You also can substitute biscuits (from a tube or box) for the pie crust.
1 can (10+ ounces) condensed chicken broth
Combine broth, 1 cup water, carrots and potatoes and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 F. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth mixture and peas. Whisk remaining 1/3 cup water into flour until smooth; whisk into vegetable mixture. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Spread out piecrust on floured surface. Measure and roll, if necessary, to fit 1-inch larger than top of shallow baking dish. Stir chicken into vegetable mixture and transfer to baking dish. Cut a round from center with a cookie cutter. Place crust over filling; rim and flute edge fastening crust to the dish. Bake until filling is bubbly and crust is browned, about 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
You can use just chicken thighs or all parts of the chicken. You also can add some sausage to make this Italian dish even more interesting. It is usually served with wide noodles or with rice.
16 chicken thighs, skinned
Rinse chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Measure 1 tablespoon oil into frying pan. When hot add half of the chicken. When well browned remove and brown remaining pieces. You may need to add more oil. Transfer chicken to a baking pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the frying pan and cook together the onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano and parsley (also the sausage if you are adding it). Stir often until vegetables are limp. Stir in tomatoes and wine. Bring to a boil, stirring often; reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Add olives. Pour over chicken and at this point you can freeze if you are cooking ahead, or simmer over low heat until chicken is no longer pink at bone. Or cook it in a 375 F. oven about an hour until chicken is cooked through. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Homemade soup can even cure a cluttered refrigerator!