Thursday, February 21, 2013

Texas Style Chicken Bog

Crusty the wonder dog!

This is from an article I wrote for my food column in our local newspaper about 10 years ago, but it applies and the recipe is great.

A Dog’s Life.
A dog’s life refers to hard or bad times… I’ve never understood this.  My dogs wake up at two in the morning, and then they wake me up so I can let them out for a quick pee.  They then come back in and rest up for breakfast.  After which they nap, on and off, all day, with the exception of getting their ears scratched, or my wife and I taking them for a walk.  All of this is centered on eating, barking or more napping.  Then some time around 8:00pm they drift off to sleep and the whole cycle starts over again.
Oddly one of the more frequently asked questions, in reference to my television cooking show, is “how are your dogs doing”. 
This started in our second season when one of our family dogs, a Chinese Chow Chow, named Weizer, wandered into the background during a shoot.  I was busy cooking and the director was so preoccupied with the food shots that no-one notice the dog.  Well the editor left in the footage, and the next week Weizer was a star.  We got so much fan mail about Weizer, that the director would let both of my dogs wander into the set every now and then.  It was funny and made for good TV.
I’m sad to say that both the show and the dogs are no longer with us.
The great American Will Rogers once said “To a dog every day is Christmas!” So for our dogs with all the cooking we do, every day is like a Christmas feast.
What brought all of this to mind was my wife, Chef Kathy’s, shoes.  I was looking at them the other day and noticed they were unusually clean for cooks’ shoes.  Preparing food is messy business and your shoes end up covered with everything from kitchen scraps to the soup of the day. 
Kathy’s shoes were spotless and I asked her when she had the time to clean them.  She said, “That’s odd I haven’t wiped them down for a long time… I sort of forgot about cleaning them”.  Our son Joey heard this and told us that our new dog Sam (half bloodhound and half black lab) was cleaning Kathy’s shoes for her. 
A few days later Joey called us into the living room and sure enough, Sam had both of Kathy’s shoes tucked between his paws, protecting his prize from our other dog Rusty (white lab).  Sam took his time with each shoe savoring the day’s fare. He started on the top working down the sides and spent extra time on the soles, licking every morsel off the shoes.  When he finished with one, he pushed it out where the other dog could see it and went to work on the other one.  Sam was in heaven; no dog bone will ever come close to the bounty of flavors Chef Kathy brings home every night.  Not to mention the shear joy of not sharing with the other Dog.  Besides Kathy’s shoes look really good!
I thought, in honor of dogs everywhere, I should do a recipe that they will love the table scraps and leftovers from.  While the weather is still a little chilly give this one a try.  You too can enjoy a dog’s life… spend the whole day eating and napping.
Texas Style Chicken Bog
This recipe can be found throughout the south.  It’s a great example of down home Texas comfort food.  I make it on a rainy day when a big crowd is dropping by.

1 (3-pound) chicken, quartered
1 pound smoked hot-links
1 cup white onion, chopped
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 teaspoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt 
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2  teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp. Granulated garlic
2 dashes of your favorite hot sauce
3 bay leaves
8 cups water
3 cups un-cooked white rice

Cut the hot-links into 1/2-inch pieces. In a Dutch-oven, combine the chicken, hot-links, onion, butter, seasonings and bay leaves. Add the water, cover, and bring to a low boil for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Add the rice to the pot and continue the low boil, stirring well. Boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes more, or until the rice is soft and fluffy. Remove the bay leaves, and return the chicken to the pot.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in big soup bowls with fresh biscuits. I like the chicken pieces whole.  Some recipes remove the chicken from the bone before returning to the pot.
Serves 8-10

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