I knew this would happen. One day "The South" would become this cool place and every Tom, Dick and Yankee would start saying "ya'll" and start eating the food from from our gardens, start stealing our ramps and okra, and we would get "cool." That day seems to have arrived. Not only are Yankee cooks showing up in our kitchens and cooking our food(check out Cooking In The Moment) but now even Canadians are doing it.
I admit, I didn't know when I first started following his really cool recipes, that Hugh Acheson was from Canada. Imagine my surprise! It turns out Acheson is a good ol' boy at heart. And really, that is the heart of the matter. He listens to R.E.M., he has a cooler full of beer, he shells peas(not those English green peas, but actual filed peas), and cooks up some amazing Southern grub.
We waited a long time for A New Turn In The South and we were not disappointed. Honest, if one didn't know better, one might just think this boy was from Georgia. Like my Daddy, marrying a lovely Southern Belle has a way of transforming a man, and Acheson is no exception. His fresh spin on Southern ingredients makes his recipes at the same time new and still remarkably comforting.
The other day I was on the phone and the caller asked, "What are you having for dinner?" Well, of course "dinner" is that mid-day meal some people call "lunch" and "supper" was what I was having, but I digress...
I told my caller that I was making a bog. Long silence. A bog, much like its name, is a sticky, wet rice dish. Famous rice historian(it's a tough job but someone has to be a rice historian!) Karen Hess, believes that bog began as traditional pilau, a sauteed and seasoned rice cooked with meats. When it was made by slaves in large batches, the rice overcooked and became steamy and wet and resembled a bog.
Now one might be surprised to find a Canadian who could even spell "bog" much less cook one. But Mr. Acheson seems right at home in this cleaned up bog.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 chicken, cut into breasts, drumsticks, oysters, and thighs, skin removed
¼ pound andouille sausage, diced
½ cup finely chopped mixed giblets
1 bay leaf
1 leek, white and light green part, cleaned and diced (½ cup)
½ cup diced yellow onion
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup red wine
4 cups chicken stock reduced to 2 cups
1 cup beef stock
1 large ripe tomato, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Heat the oil in a large, wide 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken breasts, drumsticks, oysters, and thighs evenly, about 3 minutes on each side, removing them to a platter when they are nicely browned.
To the pot, add the sausage and the giblets and cook until well browned. Remove to the platter. Discard all but a tablespoon of the cooking oil and add the bay leaf, leeks, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and thyme. When the onions have just turned translucent, add the red wine and reduce until almost dry.
Add reduced chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the reserved chicken and sausage-giblet mixture, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the chicken is just done, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot, pull the meat from the bones and return it to the pot along with the beef stock. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring all the while to break the chicken into threads. Stir in the tomato and parsley. Discard the bay leaf. Season with the salt. Serve with rice!
Now that's a bog! So grab a cold one, a copy of A New Turn In The South and get into the kitchen. Don't forget your favorite R.E.M. mix tape. If you don't have a favorite R.E.M. mix tape... get out of the damn kitchen... or check out Paste's 2009 article of the 20 Best R.E.M. songs and make that tape.