Saturday, April 12, 2008

Creamed Chicken Over Cornbread

We arrived home around noon today. We've been on the road eleven of the last 16 days. Feeling just a wee bit tuckered. After a lot of fast food meals on the road, I'm going to share something I plan to make in the next couple of days. For a southern girl who loves cornbread and gravy with equal passion, this is the ultimate comfort food! Typically I share quick and easy recipes but today's offering will take a little more work. But let me assure you, IT WILL BE WORTH IT! And it's not hard, just a little more time consuming than the ones I've been posting.

Creamed Chicken Over Cornbread

1 chicken, whole (around 3 lb.)
6 cups watter
1 stalk celery
1-2 carrots
1/3 c. butter
1/3 cup flour
1-1/2 cups light cream or half and half
1 Tablespoon grated onion
1 10 ounce bag frozen peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Rinse chicken, place in large pot with 6 cups water. Add salt, celery and carrots (washed but not peeled). Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until chicken is cooked (the cooking time depends on how big the chicken is). Remove from heat, remove chicken to platter until cool enough to handle. Reserve the broth. (I often cook down the broth while letting the chicken cool, so the flavor is more intense.) Strain the broth before using later in the recipe.
When chicken is cool enough, remove the meat and dice. Discard skin and bones.
In a heavy saucepan melt the butter on low, add the flour and stir until bubbly (3-5 minutes). Add the cream and 1-1/2 cups of the reserved broth. Cook, stirring until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Stir in chicken, onion, peas, sage, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.Salt to taste. Serve over cornbread (recipe below). IF by some bizarre chance you don't care for cornbread [what is wrong with you, anyway?!] you can serve over biscuits or other bread products.

2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups cornmeal
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
[NOTE: It's good to start the cornbread while chicken is cooling.]
Melt butter in cast iron skillet while mixing dry ingredients in a bowl. In a small bowl mix egg and milk, add to dry ingredients along with melted butter. Stir just until mixed, pour batter into hot skillet. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

This is one of those recipes you can adapt to your family's personal preferences. Replace the peas with a different vegetable or leave out the vegetable entirely. Add or delete seasonings as you like. Serve it over mashed potatoes instead of bread. Or noodles. I mean, really, this is a very versatile recipe. And it's so delicious!

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