30 August 2011

150 Alabama First Lady's Cookbook

We don't go in much for old spiral-bound cookbooks, but when one spends a lot of time studying Southern cooking, they are hard to escape. 150 Alabama First Lady's Cookbook was assembled by then Governor Albert P. Brewers wife, Mrs. Albert P. Brewer. (Rumor has it her Christian name was "Martha" but there is no sign of that in this cookbook.) The cookbook was compiled for the Alabama Sesquicentennial in 1969. It is just jam packed with recipes, quite a large number of them involving "canned" ingredients like mushroom soup, mushrooms and lots of Jello. There is the ever present lemon Jello and tomato juice aspic, cheese straws, and Red Velvet Cake.

We have Mrs. Hardenburgh's $1000 Prize Recipe for Chicken which might have been awarded this vast sum because she actually used fresh herbs in the chicken... also canned mushrooms and canned cream of mushroom soup, but fresh basil and rosemary just the same.

So here is a recipe for Party Chicken. It would seem that "party chicken" was quite a popular dish as two, count them, TWO Mrs. offered up this recipe.

Party Chicken

4 whole chicken breasts, split, skinned and boned
8 slices of bacon
1 4-ounce package of chipped beef
1 can mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream

Wrap each breast in strip of bacon, cover bottom of flat, greased baking dish with chipped beef. Arrange chicken on chipped beef. Mix undiluted soup and sour cream and pour over chicken. Cove and refrigerate. Bake uncovered in a very low (275) oven for 3 hours.

I have spent a lot of time in Alabama and I have never been served chipped beef on chicken. Especially after it has been cooked for three hours. I just don't believe there is enough canned soup and sour cream to keep chicken breasts from totally drying out after three hours.

I suggest serving the Party Chicken with Company Beans.

Company Beans

2 packages French cut green beans, frozen
2 packages baby lima beans, frozen
2 packages English peas, frozen

Cook each according to instruction on the package.

Mix the following sauce, and keep at room temperature:

2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1 medium sized onion, minced
4 hard-boiled eggs, minced
Salt and pepper to taste.

Drain liquid from hot vegetables, put into serving dish, and top with sauce.

Again, I lived in Alabama for years and never, never, EVER had a frozen green bean nor a green pea. (OK, we did often have canned English Peas.)

So my little Southern Belles, go forward and party.

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