Sunday, November 15, 2015

15 November 2015

It has been a chilly, but nice, Fall weekend in Canton, Georgia, and it's hard to believe Thanksgiving is coming week after next. The weekend began on Friday with happy hour cocktails at the Mancini's Tradition bar. I still love this bar and this room, and it was nice seeing several friends there that evening. Afterward, we had a another great dinner at Chon Ngern Thai Restaurant. The food just keeps getting better, and the service is warm and friendly.

On Saturday, we attended the Veterans Day celebration in Canon Park. It had been rained out the weekend before, but Saturday was picture perfect. I was asked to ride in the parade along with Mayor Hobgood and other City Council members, and it was an honor and privilege to pay tribute to our veterans. Sandy McGrew, Farris Yawn and John Rust also participated in the parade. On Saturday night, we went to the Cherokee Arts Center for the second annual "Variety is the Spice of Life" show. Sandy McGrew did a great job as emcee of the event, and the talent was incredible. It was nice seeing so many friends who came out to support this fundraiser for the Arts Center.

We came home right after the variety show because I was feeling under the weather. I felt a little better today but not great. It was chilly and overcast, so I decided I needed to spend some time in the kitchen. I searched around for a unique Southern comfort food dish, and I landed on a Chicken Bog. The dish is basically a version of chicken and rice with a southern twist. I sourced a few different recipes and my version was a hybrid with a few twists. I don't think these is anything more comforting than the smell of chicken cooking on a cloudy and cold Sunday afternoon. I decided I needed to serve something green with the bog, so I found some fresh Swiss Chard in season and wilted it with a little bacon and red wine vinegar dressing. For desert, I found an old recipe for a simple Georgia Apple Cake that is baked in a pie pan. It is very easy to make with just a few ingredients. I topped it with a Caramel Whiskey Sauce and some bourbon whipped cream. It was really wonderful and hassle free.

This week will require lots of planning Thanksgiving Day, and it is my favorite meal to cook all year long. I love the smell of turkey roasting in the oven, and I always get a bit nostalgic making my mother's cornbread dressing. I look forward to giving thanks for another year of blessings, especially when there is so much violence and sadness in this world. On that note, Vive la France...

The Menu:

- Deep South Chicken Bog

- Wilted Swiss Chard with Hot Bacon Dressing

- Georgia Apple Cake with Caramel Whiskey Sauce and
Bourbon Whipped Cream

The Recipe – Deep South Chicken Bog


1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 chicken thighs trimmed of any fat
2 chicken breasts cut in half
Salt to taste
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
4-5 cups chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2-3 teaspoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350.

Drain the diced tomatoes, toss with olive oil and season with pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat the butter and peanut oil over medium heat in an ovenproof dutch oven with a lid. Add the chicken thighs and saute for about 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove the thighs, season with salt and pepper, and reserve. Repeat with the chicken breasts using the same method. Pour off all of the grease and juices except for two tablespoons.

Add the onion and celery to the reserved oil, and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and rice and saute, stirring for about 3 minutes until the rice is translucent.

In a small saucepan, heat the stock to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pot with the rice and add the hot stock, reserved tomatoes, herbs, and hot sauce. Stir well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover tightly and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken and rice are cooked and the liquid is absorbed. The bog is supposed to be very moist, so don't worry about excess liquid. Remove the thyme and bay leaves. Check the seasoning for salt and pepper, toss in the lemon juice, and serve immediately.

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