Today we celebrate the unique landscapes, bold personalities and rich history of the Palmetto State, South Carolina. South Carolina was the 8th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and the first to vote in favor of secession.
Catawbas and Cherokee were some of the first to greet Spanish and French explores in the 16th century. Yet it was the English who established the first successful settlement near present-day Charleston. Carolina was originally one colony that later split into North and South Carolina in 1710.
Slavery and the Civil War continue to play a role in South Carolina’s complex social, political and economic profile. The soulful sadness of South Carolina can be heard in the music and art of the land. Yet this is a beautiful place that touches the hearts of her people.
When preparing a menu that would be reflective of South Carolina, my first instinct was to offer Frogmore Stew (Low Country Boil). A simple stew of sausage, potatoes, corn and seafoods such as shrimp or freshwater crawdads made sense. After all, South Carolina has nearly 200 miles of Atlantic coastline in addition to the low country or bottomland forests. Rather than take the easy route with a dish that is well-known outside Low Country, I decided to do a little homework. That’s when I discovered Chicken Bog. The name alone is fascinating. And the variation in recipes is interesting. At it’s base you have rice, chicken and onions. Many recipes include carrots. The one I settled on went even further with sausage, celery and bell peppers. It’s a complete supper in a single pot.
Another popular dish in South Carolina is peach cobbler. I am a huge fan of cobbler, especially peach cobbler. Main course and dessert are handled. All we needed was warm bread, sweet tea and a balmy night.
Low Country Chicken Bog
14 oz. Smoked Kielbasa Sausage
1 Yellow Onion
3 medium Carrots
1 Red Bell Pepper
2 ribs Celery
4 Garlic Cloves
3 tablespoons Butter, divided
6 bone-in skin-on Chicken Thighs
4-1/4 cups Chicken Stock
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika, divided
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Roasted Garlic Powder
2 fresh Bay Leaves
2 cups White Rice
Italian Parsley for garnish
Coin cut sausage into desired rounds, about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Set aside. Peel and dice the onion and carrots, set aside. Core, seed and dice the bell pepper, set aside. Cut celery ribs in half lengthwise, then slice and set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic cloves, set aside.
In a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, a teaspoon smoked paprika and the mustard powder. Add to dutch oven and cook skin side down until browned, about 8 minutes. Turn chicken and cook an additional 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate, let cool to the touch. Remove and discard the skin.
Add the sausage and saute until one side begins to brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside with chicken.
Add last tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add onion, stir to combine and saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots and bell pepper, cooking until the vegetables begin to soften Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Pour in the chicken stock. Add the chicken thighs along with remaining smoked paprika, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and bay leaves. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the thighs from the pot along with the bay leaves. Pour the rice into the simmering mixture, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Meanwhile, pull the chicken from the bone and shred. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, stir to combine. Cover, remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
While bog is resting, finely mince parsley. Dish up the Bog, sprinkle with parsley and enjoy.
Serve with warm bread and pitchers of Southern Sweet Tea.
South Carolina Peach Cobbler
4 cups frozen sliced Peaches, thawed
1 cup Sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/3 cup Butter, melted
3/4 cup Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 cup Milk
Vanilla Ice Cream
Thaw peaches, drain of any liquid. In a large bowl, gently toss peaches with 1/2 cup sugar and Almond Extract; set aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 2-qt. baking dish, set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar, Whisk to combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour batter evenly over butter without stirring Top batter with peach mixture.
Place in the heated oven and bake for about 50 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
Remove from oven, let cool for about 5 minutes. Spoon into dessert bowls. Top with a scoop of ice cream and enjoy.