1 bird, 3 dishes

Posted on July 27, 2006 by Aun

It’s always fantastic to discover a recipe that tastes great when you first make it and that’s just as good when you eat the leftovers the next day. It’s even better when the recipe is flexible enough that with some simple tweaking, the second or third time around, you can have a whole different dish.

I was away for a few days last week. I had to make a quick business trip up to Macau. When I came home, I was delighted — especially since my flight had arrived well past 10pm — to discover that my generous and loving wife S had whipped up a special snack for me. She and I have owned a copy of Camille Glenn’s The Heritage of Southern Cooking for years. A friend who grew up in Washington DC and Kentucky gave it to us. And while we’ve perused the book countless times, and even flagged a number of recipes that we’ve wanted to try, we’d never actually cooked from it. As a surprise and as a treat for me (because, quite honestly, between the two of us, I’m the one with the penchant for Southern cooking), S had prepared Glenn’s Hermitage Chicken Cornbread Sandwich. For the cornbread, however, instead of using the recipe in Glenn’s book, she followed one in Mitchell Davis’ Kitchen Sense. It was a honey-buttermilk cornbread recipe that I had also flagged and had been pestering her to make.

The dish is, as you can probably already tell, pretty simple. It’s a warm chicken hash served in between two slices of delicious cornbread. This chicken hash, though, doesn’t have any potatoes in it, which makes it a tad lighter than normal. Essentially, it’s poached chicken, diced and warmed up in a rich chicken-stock based sauce with some celery and onions. The hash is seasoned with some fresh parsley, salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper. The little hint of spiciness gives it a lovely kick. Spooned piping hot between the (toasted) cornbread slices, the “sandwich” was a delicious and comforting way of being welcomed back home.

Because I was a tad tired from the flight, I didn’t eat as much of the hash as S had expected. Which meant that we had cornbread for brekkie the next day and extra chicken for dinner. Instead of rehashing (sorry, I love bad puns) the same meal we had the previous night, we decided to try and make something different with the leftovers. We decided on a simple macaroni dish. We prepared the macaroni by boiling it in a combination of chicken stock and milk. We melted a knob of butter in a saucepan, tossed in the leftover chicken hash and added a bit of cream and salt. The nice thick chicken hash became a lovely, chicken sauce for our pasta. We tossed the macaroni in it and added some freshly grated parmesan. It was delicious. And it took no more than 15 minutes to make.

In addition to the chicken hash, S also had two poached chicken thighs sitting in the chiller. Instead of following Glenn’s instructions to just poach two chicken breasts, S had poached a whole chicken, following the method she usually uses when she makes chicken rice. For another quick meal, we deboned the thighs, shredded some iceberg lettuce, prepared some corn, and made a quick dressing with ginger, Champagne vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, grapeseed oil and sugar. It was a nice, light salad that captured a lot of the flavors of chicken rice.

Chicken often gets a bad rap. It’s often thought of as the boring meat. It’s not as exotic as duck or quail, nor as hearty and rich as beef or lamb. But sometimes, when cooked properly, chicken can be really nice. It’s also a good versatile meat. With one chicken, S and I were able to prepare three excellent meals over three days. And two of them in almost no time at all. Which, when you consider how many other things we have to do each day, is a really nice luxury.

Versatile Chicken Hash

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
4 cups cubed freshly poached chicken (see the recipe for chicken rice chicken here)
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
parsley sprigs for garnish

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Mix in the flour. Add 1 cup of the stock and cook over medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk, until thickened and smooth. Add the chicken cubes into the sauce.

Simmer the onion and celery in 4 cups of the stock in a large heavy pan until they are tender but not too soft. Spoon the vegetables into the saucepan with the chicken. Add just enough stock to this to create a nice sauce, stirring gently. How thick you want the sauce is up to you.

Season with salt, white pepper and cayenne. Garnish with the parsley when using.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. matt July 27, 2006 at 3:12 am

    I’m such a sucker for anything with cornbread, and this dish looks absolutely hearty and delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Tokyoastrogirl July 27, 2006 at 7:04 am

    This looks delicious – I love the sweet/salty combo. I also love how you always refer to your spouse in such endearing terms- it truly warms my heart.

  3. marc July 27, 2006 at 11:36 am

    I’m constantly amazed at how well you and S eat, and I love the fact that the both of you rave about “normal” food and haute cuisine with equal amounts of enthusiasm.

  4. Zara's Mama July 27, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    The corn bread looks like, I thought it was some polenta cake when I saw just the photo w/out reading the text.

    What a good welcome meal. S truly is endearing!

  5. Zara's Mama July 27, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    I mean the corn bread looks nice..

  6. Marilyn July 27, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Was just wondering what to do with some chicken I bought – the chicken hash sounds great! Also read (again) the previous post on chicken rice and am now craving it, esp the chilli sauce. None to be found in Melbourne yet, and still a while more before I get home to satisfy the craving. Anyone has any leads for Spore/Malaysian fd in Melbourne?

  7. Vivilicious July 27, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    I, too, am a fan of American Southern cooking. Guess it comes from growing up in the Bible belt! Of course, if I’m craving anything, I have to make it myself as I don’t have a spouse as gifted in the kitchen as your S.! Think we should have a little Southern comfort food party soon!

  8. siewyuk July 27, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    really like the purity of your pictures :-) in the last few weeks, i have also been trying to find novel ways to use the same main ingredient and i must say, it’s been fun and challenging! your chicken cornbread looks so juicy and yummy, i know what i’ll do with my cornbread recipe now! i made a chicken pot pie with my leftover poached chicken by adding some cream and thyme and putting a puff pastry over it, really delicious!

  9. keiko July 27, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    These look absolutely delicious! (lunchtime here…)

  10. ann July 27, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    properly cooked chicken is one of the simplest pleasures in life
    thats why i generally leave that cooking to someone else! my oven’s just to small to do a proper roast bird, sad… but sadly true!
    can’t wait to test drive that pasta, thanks much!

  11. san san July 27, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    Yum! I would love to try this recipe as well as the lovely chicken rice, but am ashamed to admit that I have problems chopping up a whole bird :(

  12. Gustad July 27, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    thats really is great, when left overs are just as good. but whats even better is when the left overs become even tastier! ever have that happen?

  13. risingsunofnihon July 28, 2006 at 12:55 am

    I love cornbread, but I can’t remember if I ever eaten it in a sandwich. I think I usually just have it as a side dish. The macaroni looks delicious too, I can’t wait to try it!

  14. janice July 28, 2006 at 1:51 am

    Your blog is inspiring and i only wished i came across it earlier!

    Great photos and really detailed honest write-ups. I’ll definately be visiting your site alot!

    an aspiring chef

    http://lost-vagabond.livejournal.com/

  15. Cin July 28, 2006 at 10:08 am

    The cornbread looks YUMS & the Macoroni too! I love the way S & your good self do justice to the leftovers & yet create such wonderful dishes. (which doesn’t look like creations fm leftovers)
    Sometimes, I feel leftovers spice up our creativity juices.

  16. S July 28, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    Hi Marilyn,

    I now know how to cook chicken rice because doing it myself was the only way to satisfy my cravings when I lived overseas. Perhaps it’s time to have a go at doing it yourself :P

  17. sumos July 28, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    Hello! I have a great recipe for cornbread but have yet to find cornmeal/polenta in the supermarkets. Any idea where i can find it? Or am i looking in the wrong places?
    Everyone looks at me weird when i say cornmeal.

  18. S July 28, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    Hey sumos,

    Yah, I’m very familiar with that look. Try Marketplace at Tanglin Mall and Culina (www.culina.com.sg).

  19. sumos July 28, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    thanks s!
    ;)

  20. lobstersquad July 30, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    I so agree about chicken. It deserves more attention, that´s all. people do horrid things to horrid chickens, and that´s given it a bad name. shame. your three dishes look amazing, and I´ve had the chicken rice on my to do list for ages now.

  21. Vanessa Frida August 1, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    The pasta served on the staub roasting pan looks wonderful!

  22. sumos August 6, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    it’s me again..
    i just saw sth called “Cornmeal bread mix” at Redman.
    is that equivilent to cornmeal/polenta?

    thanks for your help! (:

  23. S August 8, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Hi Sumos

    This would be at Phoon Huat, right? I popped by to take a look. The store was out of it, but the sales person told me that it is a pre-mix, meaning that it contains flour and other stuff. You wouldn’t be able to use it in the recipe in place of cornmeal/polenta.

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