March 31, 2011

Southern Chicken and Pastry



We had my mom, dad and Granddaddy over for dinner last night.  My Granddaddy was raised in eastern North Carolina and has the cutest southern drawl.  I asked him what specifically he would like to eat when he came over.  One of his favorite southern meals is chicken and pastry.  Chicken and pastry is a very common dish in the south and is also known as chicken slick.  It is not to be confused with chicken and dumplings.  My Granddaddy's mother, known to me as Grandma Doc, used to make this quite often and would get a chicken right from her own back yard to use.  Unfortunately, I do not raise chickens, so I am limited to store-bought.  Even if I did raise chickens, I don't know if I would have the heart to actually use one in cooking! I don't like seeing the same animal alive, and then dead, and then in my dinner.  Not for me!  Since I knew my day was going to be pretty busy with work on the day that they were coming for dinner, I did most of the cooking the day before, which worked out perfectly for me.  The chicken turned out so amazingly tender and the pastry dough is incredibly easy to work with and tasted delicious.  Everyone said they loved it and my Granddaddy was happy to take the leftovers home with him.  I served this with steamed broccoli, salad and garlic bread on the side.



Ingredients:
Printable Recipe
  • 5 to 6 lb whole chicken 
  • Water, enough to come up 3/4 of the chicken 
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes 
  • 1/2 onion, cut up 
  • 2 carrots, cut in half 
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme 
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp onion salt 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Pastry
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp reserved chicken fat
  • 1 c reserved broth, or as needed (see directions below)

Directions:

Place the chicken in a crock pot breast side up.  Pour in the water.  Cover and cook on low for 5 1/2 to 7 hours, until chicken is done and falling off the bone (mine took exactly 6 hours).  Traditionally, the chicken is boiled in water on the stove. 


When the chicken is done, remove it and allow it to cool in a colander with a bowl under it to catch any drippings.  Allow the broth to cool completely.

Put the broth in a container in the fridge to allow the fat to rise.  Debone the chicken and cut up the meat.  (If you are making this a day ahead, place the cut-up chicken covered in the fridge until ready to use.) 

Remove the container of broth from the fridge.  Skim the fat, reserve and set aside. Pour the broth through a sieve in a large pot and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Reserve 1 cup of the broth and set it aside for the pastry.  Stir in the bouillon cubes, onion, carrots, 1 1/2 tsp of salt, parsley, thyme, garlic powder, onion salt and pepper to the boiling broth.  Allow it to cook for 30 minutes while you make the pastry.

Make the pastry.  In a large bowl, combine the flour and 2 tbsp of the reserved chicken fat with a fork, until well blended.  This will take a couple minutes and the flour will resemble course crumbs.  Add 3/4 to 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth (3/4 c worked perfectly for me) to the mixture and 1 1/2 tsp of salt.  Blend into a ball and knead slightly.  Lightly dust your work surface with flour.  Roll out the dough into a very thin layer.  Cut the dough into 2" x 2" squares.  Place the cut pastry on a lightly floured platter. 

Remove the onion and carrot with a slotted spoon from the broth.

Turn up the heat to high and bring the the chicken broth to a rolling boil.  Add the pastry strips to the broth one at a time, being careful to not lose your boil.  After all of the pastry strips have been added, cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring gently to prevent from sticking.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Stir in the cut-up chicken and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is warmed through.  Season with salt and pepper, as needed. If a thicker consistency is desired, thicken with some flour.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!


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