This is my absolute favorite southern dish!
Although pimento cheese runs a close second and shrimp and grits is definitely near the top, chicken bog takes the #1 spot of the ‘Southern Food I Discovered After Moving To South Carolina And I Don’t Know How I Ever Lived Without It’ category. If you are reading this post and wondering what the heck I am talking about, I will offer a bit of background.
A low country favorite, chicken bog is named for its texture. It is more wet and ‘boggy’ than many other similar dishes and sometimes it is even called chicken stew. Although, if the historian at the Lexington County Museum in Columbia, SC can be trusted, chicken stew doesn’t contain sausage. Regardless, the ingredient list is minimal and straightforward. A whole chicken is simmered in water and onions until it falls apart, then the chicken is removed and the bones and skin discarded. Sausage and rice is added to the shredded meat, onions, and liquid, and the whole shebang is cooked until all the stock is absorbed. Occasionally I come across a version that contains green peppers or even corn, but purists agree. Rice, chicken, sausage, onions, broth and maaaaaaaaaybe a splash of hot sauce. Thats it.
And let me tell ya, folks. That is all it needs. I realize it doesn’t sound like much. When a good family friend first introduced me to chicken bog, I tried to politely decline. The name didn’t sound like something even remotely delicious, and whilst I trust this friend, I was skeptical. When he ignored my protests and made me eat a few bites, my life was forever changed. It was so simple! So easy! So goooooooood.
When you start to talk to people about chicken bog, you quickly came to realize that very few people are privy to this dish. Outside of South Carolina, it is virtually unheard of. But here in the sunny palmetto state, we bring it to potluck dinners, serve it at the historical society, and even honor it with a yearly festival. Much the way Tator-Tot Hotdish is a treasured childhood dish of mine, so will chicken bog be for my own children.
The traditional method is easy, yes, but I streamlined the process a bit to make it even faster, thus making it possible to have it more often. I confess this was my only goal when finalizing the recipe. Must. Eat this. More. Often. 🙂 Over time I have blended various ingredients and flavors that I have picked up from different native South Carolinians, due to the fact that, like most regional recipes, everyone has their own version. The result is still pretty traditional and especially tasty. So tasty that these photos are incredibly distracting and are making me hungry.
Haver YOU ever had chicken bog?
This freezes quite well. Just defrost and reheat in the microwave. Be conservative when salting this dish as the sausage will add to the overall flavor.
3 c white rice
2 onions, diced
1 stick of butter, salted or unsalted
2-48 oz containers good quality chicken broth, or about 12 c homemade chicken broth or stock
4 c cooked chicken, shredded into bitesized pieces (or the meat of 1 rotisserie chicken)
1-14 oz package, beef smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut lengthwise then cut crosswise into half-moons
1 T Old Bay Seasoning
2 tsp season salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
In a very large, heavy bottomed stockpot, combine the first three ingredients over medium, med-low heat. Stir it often for the next three or four minutes, letting the onions soften a bit and the rice get a little toasty. Add the Old Bay, season salt, and pepper. Add all of the broth and set your heat to medium. You want the pot to bubble just a tiny bit, but not boil, so adjust your burner accordingly. Let the rice cook, stirring often to prevent sticking, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. The time will vary based on your rice, but plan on a good half hour or so. Occasionally, for whatever reason, my pot goes dry and my rice isn’t done. I just add a bit more broth. The texture of the dish should be very thick, but very moist. Stir in the chicken and sausage and let come up to serving temp. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. We serve this with green beans and we put out hot sauce, red pepper flakes, and cajun seasoning as options to top it off.