Comfort Food: Chicken Hash Gravy
Earlier this year, my cat Brinx passed away. She was 18 and had been with me since she was 11. I loved that little furball; even when she swatted me and left her marks. She had so much attitude and personality.
She was also an awesome travel buddy. On more than one trip, her big green eyes, cute face and good manners got us an upgrade to first class.
But in addition to being as cute as all get out, Brinx loved stalking me when I was cooking. Deli ham, roasted chicken and hot buffalo wings were among her favorite foods. The buffalo wings always threw me. I didn’t let her eat the sauce since I had no idea what the sauce would do to her innards. But I couldn’t not share the inner, sauce-free bits of the wings with her.
When she passed away, I was crushed, but I knew she had had as good a life as I could give her.
To help me regain some sense of a new normal, I cooked. No shock there, I’m sure. Cooking is therapeutic for me. In this, I know I’m not alone. (hello! i can NOT wait to read kim severson’s book, spoon fed.)
My requirement for cooking something was that I didn’t want to leave the house. If the dish required an ingredient I didn’t have or couldn’t substitute, I wasn’t making it.
My copy of America the Beautiful Cookbook came through for me with a recipe for Capitolade of Roast Fowl. A chicken gravy served over biscuits that’s a supposed to be a precursor to chicken hash? Why yes, this would fit the bill. Not only did I have all of the ingredients, it also appeared to qualify as comfort food. Plus, it’s a sort of ridiculous name that made me smile just a bit.
For those of you interested in random trivia, this dish is reported by the authors of America the Beautiful Cookbook to have been a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, who ate it for breakfast. Personally, I had it for dinner, but I wouldn’t say no to it at other mealtimes, breakfast included.
One note: This recipe calls for leftover roast fowl. Uh… Yeah. I had some chicken. I roasted it. That’s “roast fowl,” right? Right.
Capitolade of Roast Fowl (serves 4)
(from America the Beautiful Cookbook)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 spring onion, finely chopped
pinch of dried thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 to 3 cups leftover roast fowl (or, you know, some chicken), roughly chopped
pinch of nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup cream
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the spring onion and dried thyme. Cook for about 3 minutes.
Stir in the flour. I used a whisk to make sure it was stirred without burning or clumping. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 2 more minutes.
Whisk in the stock and wine.* Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the bird meat (fowl, chicken, turkey, whatever), stirring it in to coat all of the pieces. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
In a separate bowl, combine the cream with the egg yolk and lemon juice. Stir into the mixture. Cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, but do not let it boil.
Serve it over biscuits sprinkle it all with a touch of fresh chopped parsley and dill.
*I’ll admit. I cheated here. After I was well into getting the dish pulled together, I realized I didn’t actually have any white wine in the house. I substituted some high-quality vodka. It still tasted just fine, if not quite what our Founding Father may have had.