Chicken Creole Connection

When I was writing this post about my life long love affair with a chicken creole recipe, my mind was traveling back to those days in the 70’s on Gazette Avenue.  Our next door neighbors, Ric and Judy Seaman, were in school and in much the same financial boat.  We would take turns making a special dinner, so that we had the feeling of eating out.  I still have recipes from Judy.  And this is the wonderful thing about the internet.  Out of the blue, I receive this note:

“Connie, somehow I just jumped onto your recipe blog page for Chicken Creole. I almost died when I read it!  We still use that recipe too!  Such good memories of us buying chicken when it went on sale and using it every way we could think of… I recall it going down to $.10 a pound on rare occasions and of jamming our little freezers as full as we could. To this day Ric won’t use tarragon because I made him eat so much Chicken Tarragon, but we all still do love Chicken Creole. Our kids were raised on it too!  How funny (yet great) are those memories of our little apartments on Gazette!”

She went on to mention the ducks I raised on our deck; I hadn’t thought of them in ages.  If you read this, you’ll see that some things never change!  Those were times of no computers (computers only lived in large, climate controlled rooms!), no smart phones, and no television.  Televisions were invented, we just didn’t have one.  Recreation was hikes in Red River Gorge (photo above) and canoe trips.  Do I want to go back to those times?  Nope.  I love my technology.  And I love being able to afford to go out to eat occasionally.  But it was nice to visit those times through a recipe.   And more importantly to connect with someone who shared those times and Chicken Creole.  Do you have a recipe with a story?

Forty Years of Chicken Creole

There is one thing that my ex-husband was right about and I was wrong.  Chicken Creole.  It was the early 1970’s.  He was a medical student and I was a graduate student.  We lived on my teaching assistantship; we lived on very little.  Chicken was about 25 cents a pound, so we were always looking for recipes.  He found a recipe in my aunt’s “Fairyland Cooking Magic” cookbook, copyright 1955 by Fairyland P.T.A., Lookout Mountain, Tenn.  I love my aunt’s Fairyland cookbook which I still have along with a Watkins Cook Book copyright 1943.

“I may eat the chicken, but that sauce sounds terrible.”  I ate those words along with licking the dish clean.  That began my love affair with chicken creole.

I typed the recipe on my college, portable Smith-Corona typewriter, as I did with all of my favorite recipes.  As the years went by, changes were made to the recipe.  I started using diced boneless chicken.  I wanted that sauce covering as much of the chicken as possible.  When I’m wrong, I’m really wrong.  It became a family staple.  My children were raised on chicken creole, starting with it being ground in my little baby food grinder.

In 1984 I shared the recipe in our church cookbook.  It was probably the only recipe in the Baptist cookbook with alcohol.  The amount which by the way, over the years had doubled from the original recipe.

 

When my children became adults, I delighted when they called wanting to know how to make chicken creole for a special occasion.  The recipe continues to evolve.  Made with fresh, ripe heirloom tomatoes, green pepper, fresh herbs and a bottle of dry white wine captures a summer garden and is my current choice.

All this talk of chicken creole and I can almost taste it right now.