This post goes out to my neighbor, Lana over in Georgia and to her readers at Never Enough Thyme. She cooks as if she is a relative of mine, a woman after my heart (and stomach) with her down-to-goodness, southern recipes.
There are many who believe bad blood exists between my home state and that of Lana’s. Much like the Hatfield and McCoy feuds, the latest squabble over the waters of the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin, including Allatoona and Carters lakes in northwest Georgia have been going on now for several years. Georgia has a lot of water, the folks downstream in Alabama and Florida have argued over the legal water rights of Lake Lanier too since the early 1990’s. The big sprawl of central Georgia has those fine folks worried about the allocation of water – theirs vs. the rivers, streams and estuaries that feed into the lower areas of the other two states. Disagreement has led to federal intervention.
Another bad blood, one that only a few now may recall, is the historic Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket’s vs. Bear Bryant’s Alabama Crimson Tide. Back in 1961, then Coach Bobby Dodd and his team paid a visit to Tide’s stadium. Tech punted the ball, Alabama fair-caught the ball and after the fair catch, a Tide player continued play smashing an opponent’s face. The injury cause unconsciousness and a severe concussion to Dodd’s player. The incident let to a bitter disgruntle and along with other issues, like the South Eastern Conference schools’ over-recruitment of players, the fed-up coach of the Yellow Jackets withdrew from the SEC. Now, that’s really bad blood.
Then there is the much debatable feud, particularly in the lower counties of Georgia and Alabama, of who can grow or has the better cotton. Cotton was king for many years, until the nasty boll weevil came calling, wiping out farmers interest. This feud subsided as Georgians planted peanuts and Alabamians grew soybeans.
Lana and I have too much in common to ever squabble despite our state’s view of one another. Both of us are were born in small southern towns, raised in a family that taught good manners and we both like good home style food. I’m talking about food that will make you cry in joy ‘cause it taste so good. Lana knows how to cook southern cuisine. Secrets that are only taught by your mother or someone from a southern family. How many of you actually use the chicken fat in your dough when making chicken and dumplings? Or add Karo syrup to bacon covered baked beans, use a real hambone in making soups, add butter to butter beans, bake banana pudding topped with browned meringue for a church dinner-on-the-grounds or how many of you even know what mayhaws are? We are few, I know. Lana cooks as if she belongs next door and I wish she were a closer neighbor.
The recipes today are not traditional southern in nature, I knew better than to offer Lana something southern, besides, she would out do me anyway. But, the comforting flavor of roasted chicken is and this one is easy and downright succulent. The salad is a twist to the time-honored salad we both grew up eating. I hope you like it. Enjoy!
Roasted Chicken Salad
1 1/2 cups diced roasted chicken, recipe follows
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons sweet salad cubes or diced sweet pickles
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Mayonnaise to moisten
Good splash of lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans or almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl except the red peppers. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the red peppers and refrigerate until ready to serve.
1 large roasting chicken
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried crush thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 large onion, sliced
1 rib celery, cut in half
Remove excess fat from the chicken and rinse under running water, pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix spices together and sprinkle the bird inside and out. Lay a few onions in the bottom of a slow cooker, place remaining onions and the celery inside the cavity and position in the center of the cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours.
Transfer to a baking dish and broil in the oven if desired to brown the skin although as you can see, most of the time it is not necessary.
Pour the drippings into a bowl and skim off the grease. This base makes delicious gravy. Cut the chicken into serving pieces or use the meat for other delectable dishes.
Note: Reserve the drippings for later use and the carcass too. Together, these two are the start to a rich and tasty chicken stock.