Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Cooking with the Presidents: Chicken Pudding

When I saw that Mount Vernon had posted a Facebook video for something called "Chicken Pudding," my first thought was, "Ewww." But I gave the video a chance, and it quickly became apparent that chicken pudding isn't too much different from, say, a chicken pot pie or something along those lines.

Here, you can see for yourself. (I also give the recipe below if you don't want to watch the video.)



The main difference between this and the pot pie I've made in the past (besides the lack of crust or vegetables) is the addition of eggs...which is also what makes it a pudding, I suppose. I'm always in favor of extra protein, though, so I decided to make this for Presidents Day.

The video tells you pretty much all you need to know, except for the amount of broth. In the comments to the video, Mount Vernon specified about 1/2 cup. I decided to add a little dried thyme to the mixture, also, because it seemed like it needed something. And instead of roasting my own chicken on a spit, I picked up a rotisserie chicken at Ye Olde Jewel Osco, and I shredded it instead of cubing it.

Here's the recipe I wound up using:

Chicken Pudding

1 cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1/2 c butter
1/2 c flour
1/2 c broth
2 c milk
4 eggs
salt, pepper, thyme to taste

Preheat your oven to 350

In a bowl, mix together the eggs and milk, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pan, then whisk in the flour. Cook for a couple minutes until it darkens a bit.

Whisk in the broth and incorporate it well.

Slowly add the milk/egg mixture and whisk well to combine. Add seasoning.

Remove from heat, add the chicken, then transfer to a pie plate. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

***

While I was making this, my daughter came into the kitchen to ask what smelled so good. I told her I was making a chicken pie because somehow that sounds more appealing than chicken pudding. She said she couldn't wait for dinner. I was glad she was enthusiastic because my last attempt at a Mount Vernon recipe hadn't gone too well.

The pudding emerged from the oven looking and smelling pretty appealing. I let it cool for about 20 minutes before cutting into it, since that's what I usually do with casseroles and whatnot to keep them from running. I'm not sure that was entirely necessary with this, though. It wound up being firm and not runny at all, probably thanks to all those eggs.


I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to scoop out the servings or slice them like a pie. I wound up doing a scoop-slice hybrid.

I served the pudding with biscuits and honey-glazed carrots. In retrospect I would have gone with a lighter, less sweet vegetable because the pudding was pretty dense, and the biscuits and honey just made everything heavier. It also looked kind of monochrome. Not to go all Iron Chef, but it needed something acidic.


That said, the pudding actually tasted pretty good, and my kids seemed to enjoy it a lot. In fact, they liked it so much that halfway through the meal I decided to tell them it was really called Chicken Pudding...and then they suddenly stopped eating. After moaning for a couple minutes about how gross that was, they resumed eating again, and they ate the leftovers the next night without complaint. (Surprisingly, the leftovers actually tasted a little better than the fresh-baked pudding/pie.)

This isn't a fancy dish, but it's a hearty one, and it's worth checking out if you want to make something George Washington might have eaten. (And trust me, there are a lot of things he would have eaten that sound---and probably taste---a lot less appealing than "chicken pudding.")

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