There’s a saying around these parts, one I suspect from the time when Creole cooks were highly prized in many kitchens. It goes something like “A house with chickens will never go hungry.” There is another verse in folklore that refers to all the honor a hen house bestows on a household. From the many things made from the eggs, the flesh of the chicken and the benefits of the rich broth, so much goodness does indeed come from chickens and it you happen to have a yard full then you are surely blessed. Many times in walking around our neighborhood I hear clucking sounds, sometimes a trilly calming purr as if to say how happy all are and even a cackle every now and then, perhaps when laying. There are chickens all around and I suspect houses with full bellies as well.
The essence of flavor for this recipe is much like the marinade and coating I made a while back in making Chicken Fried White BBQ Sandwiches, a form of Devil’s Chicken with an Alabama BBQ sauce all wrapped nicely in a hoagie. The slight spicy seasoning is based on the same theme Creoles used when preparing poultry in this manner generations ago. This is a very lovely dish with layered tastes and a nice depth of flavor, a very refined ‘chicken and gravy over rice’ if you will dare call it. Enjoy!
Creole Deviled Chicken
or known in the Creole Kitchen as Poulet a la Diable
serves 6 to 8
- 1 -3 to 4 pound chicken
- 1 small onion, halved
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 small garlic toe
- 2 cups of reserved chicken broth
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
- 1/4 cup dice red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon grain mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- good dash of cayenne
- 6 cups cooked white rice (2 cups uncooked)
Wash the chicken under running water and place in a large stockpot. Cover with water; add the onion halves , bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring water to simmer over medium high heat. Reduce to low heat when boil appears. Remove any scum from the surface if you want to maintain a clear broth. Cover and simmer on low for about an hour. Remove from heat and place chicken on a platter. Strain the solids from broth discarding the solids. Allow chicken to cool to the touch and remove meat from the carcass. Dice meat and put aside.
In the same stockpot or a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir cooking for a couple of minutes. Stir in the onion, celery and jalapeno and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and cook until you can smell the garlic, about a minute. Add in the 2 cups of reserved broth. Stir to blend and increase heat to medium high. When simmering occurs, turn the heat to low and stir in the vermouth, red bell pepper, mustard, white pepper and cayenne. Simmer for 3 minutes stirring really well. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
Place the chicken in a ovenproof serving dish or casserole and spoon the sauce on top. Place in a warm oven until ready to serve.
Serve over hot white rice.