Every recipe is a journey, passed from hand to hand, sometimes around the globe. Here’s the story of this recipe: a young woman leaves Australia at the beginning of World War II, on a shop bound for England. She finds herself in Istanbul, out of money, and hears about a position at the British Embassy in Moscow. She goes to Moscow and is interviewed by the man she later marries, and thus begins her life as the wife of a diplomat, enlivened by exotic postings around the world. She learns to make a fool-proof chicken dish that can be frozen, reheated, expanded at the last minute to accommodate a few extra guests, adapted to be elegant or rustic, and uses the recipe throughout their diplomatic career, before retiring and giving the recipe to her American daughter-in law.
Cue my friend Lisa, who studied cooking in Paris and also traveled around the world with her journalist husband and three children before settling in Washington. Lisa started her own catering business in Moscow after the Soviet Union fell, which gives you some idea of her buoyant entrepreneurial spirit. When her husband was transferred back to the US, she turned her hand to running the kitchen at a charter elementary school in Washington. She uses no processed food at the school, she daily replenishes a fresh and very popular salad bar, and her mother’s Diplomat Chicken recipe is in the regular menu rotation. Now when she says “chicken”, the kids don’t automatically think “nuggets”; they want the “mother-in-law whatever that is.”
Lisa has developed a full complement of tasty, healthy recipes for her school, and is happy to share them. Just email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 1 chicken, cut into pieces (lots of chicken bones add to the flavor of the sauce)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- ¼ pound smoked, streaky bacon
- ¼ pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 to 2 cups of water, depending upon your desired thickness for the sauce
- Brown chicken pieces in butter on high heat.
- Place them in a casserole dish.
- Cut bacon into small pieces and fry until almost crisp.
- Pour off bacon fat.
Lower heat and cook onion, garlic and chopped bacon for five minutes.
- Add mushrooms, bouillon cubes, and flour, then tomato paste, wine and water.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Pour over chicken, cover and place in preheated oven at 320 degrees for one and one half hours.
If cooking for the next day, bake in oven for an hour, than bake for a half hour the next day before serving.
- It also freezes well.
- Good with spiced rice or potatoes.