Chicken bog is a kind of congee from the American South, specifically the low or coastal country of the Carolinas and Georgia. It consists of a rich broth and shredded, stewed chicken and rice. It’s easy, economical, and delicious. The chicken is cooked in water for a really long time, removed and shredded, and added back to the broth with salt and pepper, maybe lemon juice and maybe butter, and sometimes sausage. It looks and sounds bland, but I’m here to tell you that once you start eating, you can’t get enough.Bog is one of those traditional regional dishes for which every family seems to have its own tradition or variation. Vivian Howard’s recipe, Scarlett’s Chicken and Rice, for example, is named after her mother Scarlett. Because it’s her mother’s recipe, duh. It’s as plain as the proverbial pair of white cotton panties, and it is out of this world.
One recipe netted 5 quarts of chicken broth, two of which I used for the bog. Another two quarts I used for chicken soup, adding diced carrots, turnip, garlic, and leeks. That left me two quarts of broth for the freezer. That’s a lot of food from one little chickadee!
By accident, I made the ghahstly mistake of preparing cauliflower as a side dish. An all-white dinner from the kitchen of a Betty Crocker Future Homemaker of Tomorrow Award winner? Horrors! Quick! Grab some cheddar to shred over the veg and pop in the microwave for a quick fix.
And for my next number, a mash-up of two recipes from Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey: The Warmth and Ease of Indian Cooking .
For some time, I’d been eyeing those huge salmon filets with the skin on at Costco, thinking I should really pick one up and cut it up for the freezer. However, I was deterred by the skin, which I would want to remove before freezing. I like to prepare salmon by baking it in parchment bags, and wouldn’t want soggy, unappetizing skin on my plate. So, I watched a few video tutorials on the web and figured it didn’t look so hard. I can skin chickens, after all, why not a big piece of fish? Well, I’ll tell you why not. Because it’s bigger and slipperier than a chicken. And it’s gross. And the skin is really, really stuck to the flesh. Uch. What a mess. I managed to get a few intact portions out of it, but then I had a whole bunch of salmon bits about the size of prawns left over. I dumped them in a plastic container and stuck them in the freezer. And forgot about them.
Then, one day, I’m reading through Vij’s At Home, just minding my own business, when I come across a recipe for Prawns in Pomegranate Curry that makes my mouth water. I have to have it. I have all the ingredients, more or less, except the prawns. Then the proverbial light bulb goes on as I remember the salmon bits. Well, they are both pink, right?
I marinated the salmon bits in the refrigerator in marinade leftover from Vij’s Grilled Marinated Wild Salmon, which I had made a few days earlier. While the salmon was marinating, I prepared the chickpeas, also vaguely from the same cookbook.
Ingredients for Pan-Roasted Chickpeas
1 can chickpeas a/k/a garbanzo beans, drained but not rinsed
1 small red onion, sliced thin or diced
2 small carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin or smashed and left whole
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup diced apples and grapes (I used some of my Savory Red Grapes with its juice)
4 dried dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
Ingredients for Salmon
3/4 pound salmon, cut up into bite-size pieces, if you like, or leave it whole
1 tablespoon canola
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped or grated
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Instructions for Chickpeas
- Heat canola oil to medium heat in a medium frying pan;
- Add spices and stir around to toast or cook off the raw odor;
- Add onion and garlic until soft;
- Add the diced carrots;
- Add chick peas and let everything caramelize;
- When chickpeas start to blacken, add the fruit, and lower the heat;
- Cook the fruit through without letting it get soggy;
- If you start to get a “sauce,” raise the heat.
Instructions for Salmon
- Remove the chickpea mixture from the pan, don’t wipe out the pan;
- Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil;
- When oil is heated add the spices and let toast to cook off the raw odor;
- Add pomegranate molasses, the garlic and the salmon (in pieces or whole), together with its marinade;
- Cook on one side for 4 to 5 minutes, and flip the salmon over;
- Cook until the outside is dark and crispy looking, probably another 4 minutes;
- Add chickpea mixture back to pan, adjust for salt and pepper.
Serve with garlic naan, or rice.
*Note: Substitute pomegranate juice for the tamarind juice in the original recipe.
Meanwhile, I am preparing a post on restaurants, and would love to hear about what you like and dislike most when you go out to eat. How about it?