Mountain Brunch Jelly Glazed Chicken Au Gratin Taters Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Well folks, here we are in the very last part of summer already. In another three or four weeks I'll have to put my summer kitchen away until next spring. I just love cooking outdoors. You don't have to worry about messing up the floors (I don't anyway), and if some small pieces of food hit the ground, by morning Bre'r Fox will have gotten every one of 'em, and everything is nice and tidy. (Kind of like, Mother Nature's vacuum cleaners!) Also, on a hot day, cooking outdoors doesn't heat up the house. I've got my big propane camp stove set up next to my two wood-fired barbecues, along with tables and several chairs amidst a grove of Black Oaks, where its always nice and shady. In the evening, a nice, cool breeze always comes up from the river canyon, cooling things down nicely. So fixing lunch or supper is always enjoyable. Kicking back with a nice tall, cool one, watching a big thick steak sizzle over the fire while a pot of fresh corn on the cob bubbles on the stove, is definitely one of life's large pleasures here on Bluegrass Acres! Here's a little bit of culinary information that may have never crossed your mind, but things such as this tend to pique my interest. Why are two words, which are spelled entirely differently, used to describe a common foodstuff? Those two are Ketchup and Catsup. While going through my recipe files, looking for material for this month's column, I noticed this difference in two separate recipes. Sooo, grabbing my favorite book (the dictionary), here's what I found out. I looked up the word Ketchup, and it said, see Catchup. Hah! Another spelling! The plot thickens! (Pun intended) So, over to Catchup I go, whereupon I found that it is derived from the East Indian word, "Kitjap: a sauce made of tomatoes, walnuts and mushrooms; also spelled Catsup and Ketchup". So, that little bit on inquiry uncovered not two, but, four spellings for one of America's favorite condiments. From Kitjap (which I kinda like) to Catchup with Ketchup and Catsup in between. Who'da thunk? I guess by now you can tell that I'm retired and easily amused! Well, after all that chin music, I've worked up an appetite, so come on out under the oak trees, pull up one of those comfortable chairs, I'll pour you a cup of Cowboy Coffee, and we'll palaver over some good ol' vittles! This first recipe I'm going to share with you folks is what I call one of my "calendar recipes". That's because it was on a calendar that I picked up somewhere. I think it was in a hardware store of somewhere like that, where they always have a stack of calendars lying on the counter, and each month features a recipe. They're usually from the local 4-H or a church group. Out of the 12, I usually keep one or two, as they're pretty much all the same, but this one really caught my eye. Not only because it makes a great meal, but its also very easy to fix. The key word here is easy! This makes a great breakfast for four to six people, (banjo pickers excluded), or you can even serve it for a light lunch. The best part of it is the fact that you mix it up ahead of time and pop it in the oven for an hour when you need it! They had some kind of glorified name stuck on this, but I've always just called it: Mountain Brunch 8 slices buttered bread, cubed (Use the bread of your choice. I use Sourdough.) 1/2-cup onion, diced 1/4-cup celery, diced 3 green onions, diced 8 eggs, beaten 1 green pepper, diced 4 cups milk Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste 1 4-oz can mushrooms, drained Ham, cubed or Bacon or Sausage, crumbled, any amount desired 1 cup Colby cheese, shredded 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded Mix together everything but the cheeses and refrigerate over night. Before baking, sprinkle cheeses over the top. Bake in a skillet or a 9"X13" pan for one hour at 400ºF. Serves 4 to 6. This makes a wonderful Sunday brunch when served with some fresh fruit and a nice bottle of Chardonnay that has been decently chilled. A California Mountain Brunch at its very best! I know my Virginia friends Wanda Allen and Debbie would love this one! (California gourmet cookin'!) Back to top When I was a little bitty redneck, (I stole that line from my friend Ron Thomason), my momma almost always would cook up some chicken for Sunday's supper. She had several recipes that she would use, and every one of 'em would make yer tongue slap yer brains out. Just thinking of 'em almost gives me a terminal case of "the slobbers"! (That's for you, Carl!) Momma was known for her southern fried chicken, and Colonel Sanders only wishes he could've cooked it that good, but my very favorite of all was one she called her "Jelly Glazed Chicken". When you sat down to a plate full of a half a chicken, smashed taters absolutely covered with cream gravy along with some hot buttered biscuits, son, you're in country boy heaven! Then, when I got to be a big redneck, momma would cook one chicken for me, and two more for the rest of the family! This is one as easy to fix as falling off a peeled foot log over ol' Piney Creek, but you'll think you're dining at the Ritz when you serve it. Here's how momma would fix her old-fashioned: Jelly Glazed Chicken 3 broiler-fryers, about 2 1/2 lbs. Each 3/4-cup butter 1 tsp. kosher salt 1/4 tsp. Fresh-ground pepper 2/3 cup lemon or orange marmalade Rinse and dry birds; tie the legs together and place breast up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add salt and pepper and brush some over the chickens. Place the birds in a 400º F oven and roast for 45 minutes. While the chickens cook, stir marmalade into the remaining butter. Heat slowly, stirring constantly, until marmalade melts and blends well. At 45 minutes, brush birds with jelly mixture and brush again at 60 minutes. Roast for 15 minutes longer, or until the birds are tender and glazed nicely. Serves 6 hungry rednecks (or 2 banjo pickin' J.D. Cromagnons!) For an extra special occasion, sometimes momma would serve some fried apple rings with this dish. She would fry them in butter and add some brown sugar and cinnamon too. Wow! We always had company for supper on Sundays at our house. If you folks like roasted chicken, you'll love this one, I promise you. Now irregardless of how you cook up a mess of chicken, from roasted to fricasseed, you've just got to have some taters to go with it! If its cold fried chicken at a picnic, you have some good old-fashioned tater salad. If it's hot fried chicken, its smashed taters and gravy, and of course, with roast chicken its either pan roasted or baked taters! Chicken and taters go together like cornbread and beans or Lester and Earl! It's just that simple! (I'm sure that somewhere in the Mountain Code of Justice, it states: "Eat chicken without taters and go to prison." It's the law!) One of my very favorite ways to fix taters is to Au Gratin the heck of 'em! I don't care, cause I'll eat 'em! Here's how to "Au Gratin" up a mess of taters like you ain't never tasted! Au Gratin Taters 3 TBSP butter 3 TBSP flour 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper 2 cups milk 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded 5 cups thinly sliced, peeled potatoes 1/2 cup chopped onion Use a large skillet. Melt butter over low heat; whisk in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring, or whisking constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Add potatoes and onion and stir well. Transfer to a 2-quart, greased baking dish. Cover and bake at 350º F for one hour. Uncover and bake another 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 6-8 servings. I just purely love this dish either hot or cold. Cold, they're a wonderful substitute for potato salad. These sure hit the spot for supper on a chilly fall evening. Back to top I'd like to take time here to tell you folks about on

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