Looking for a lost recipe? Visit www.heritagerecipes.com ...or if you have a family recipe to share, contact http://www.heritagerecipes.com/Submit-recipe.htm
Now you can print out your favorite RocknRecipes! Print

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Chicken Supper - now and then

Sunday Chicken Supper (now)

From the Taste of Home "More Slow Cooker Classics" pg. 224 circa 2010


prep:  15 min.  Cook:  6 hours

Ruthann Martin, Louisville, Ohio

This convenient slower cooker dish makes a hearty supper that's special any day of the week.

2 small carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 celery rib, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup cut fresh green beans (2-inch pieces) (we use flash-frozen from Sam's Club)
2 small red potatoes, halved (we use one potato per person)
2 bone-in chicken breast halves (7 ounces each), skin removed (we use flash-frozen boneless breasts)
2 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (we save our from breakfast just for this!)
3/4 cup hot water
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules (we use two cubes)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
pinch of pepper (we like cracked from a pepper mill)

1  In a 3-qt. slow cooker, layer the first seven ingredients in the order listed.  Combine the water, bouillon, salt, thyme, basil and pepper; pour over the top.  Do not stir.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until vegetables are tender and a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove chicken and vegetables.  Thicken cooking juices for gravy if desired.  (We do this - melt 1/4 cup butter in a pan, sprinkle 3 Tablespoons flour on top and allow to slightly brown, pour in one ladle of cooking juices and whisk, adding more until you have a nice gravy to serve along with your dish.)

Now, dear readers in blogland, when farmer's wives made chicken dinner, there was a LOT of prep work  involved.  Come on now, neither Sam's Club and Costo weren't around the corner back then!  So, what did they do with no butcher, no stores, no refrigeration, no electricity, no running water, etc.?  This preparation is described in Great Grandma Block's "House Searchlight Recipe Book" circa 1936.  I must forewarn you that this is not a pleasant read, but however "yucky" it may seem, it was reality back in the day.  If you ever find yourself in need of preparing chickens all by yourself, this is the information you'll need.

Chickens raised on a farm taste quite different from those that come from the supermarket.  Farm chickens are plumper and have more flavor.  If there is a farm near you, you may request ordering butchered chickens from them.  It is far superior meat than that inside a plastic bag in the freezer section in your local grocery.

A true story
My mother recalls that when she was about two years old, a big, giant rooster attacked her, knocked her down and pecked her head.  Grandma grabbed him by the neck, swung him 'round and then they had rooster for dinner.  To this day, she is afraid of live birds of all kinds.

pg. 214, Poultry

The term poultry includes domestic fowls such as chicken guinea, turkey, goose, and duck.  These fowls are delectable for consumption when carefully prepared.


Selection:  Young, tender poultry is characterized by a firm, moist, smooth skin.  It should be plump, have bright eyes and comb, and soft feet.  The cartilage at the end of the breast bone should be soft.  Scaly, hard feet and firm breast bone characterize older poultry.

Removal of Feathers:  Dry picked poultry is desirable.  Feathers can be removed readily without scalding if birds are picked before they are allowed to stiffen.  Hold bird firmly with left hand.  Grasp feathers with right hand.  Remove feathers with a quick, short motion down and up.  With a little practice feathers can be removed without tearing the skin.  Remove the down and fine feathers from goose or duck by dipping quickly into boiling water and then rubbing the flesh with a hot cloth.   The down may also be removed by coating the bird with melted paraffin (wax).  Allow paraffin to harden.  Scrape from bird.  The down will be removed with this operation.

Singeing:  Poultry purchased with feathers removed or that picked at home requires singeing.  To remove the down or fine hair hold the bird for a few second over a hot flame.  Turn until all portions have been exposed to the heat.  Rub the surface with a dry cloth.  Wash the bird thoroughly.  Soap, water, and a brush may be used for this purpose.  Rinse in clear water.  Remove pin feathers by scraping with a dull knife against the grain of the flesh.  Avoid breaking the skin.

Dressing and Cleaning:  Cut off head.  Cut through skin of leg 1 1/2 inches below the knee joint.  Do not cut through tendons.  Press leg over edge of work table.  Break bone where skin is cut.  Hold the bird in the left hand.  Grasp the foot in the right hand, pull firmly to remove foot, and with it the tendons.  If the bird is old, insert skewer beneath tendons.  A lifting, twisting motion of the skewer will remove them.  Cut a small slit at back of neck.  Insert two fingers.  Remove crop and windpipe.  Draw back skin of neck.  Cut off neck close to body.  Trim skin of neck if necessary, cut leave enough to fold over the back.  Cut a slit one in ch from top of breast bone to vent.  Cut around vent.  Insert fingers through cut.  Carefully remove entrails and organs, working the fingers close to the breast bone and ribs to remove all portions of lungs and kidneys.  Care must be observed to avoid breaking the gall bladder which is attached to the liver.  Cut gall bladder from liver.  Discard all portions of liver which are discolored.  Cut top from heart.  Carefully cut through outer fleshy portion of gizzard.  Remove inner sac.  Discard.  Wash liver, heart and gizzard thoroughly.  Wash bird inside and outside thoroughly.

Now that preparations have been made, you can make one of the following recipes from Grandma Block's Household Searchlight Recipe Book for your farm-raised chicken:

Chicken with Dumplings (then)
pg. 216
Select a plump chicken.  Dress.  Cut in pieces.  Place in saucepan.  Cover with boiling water.  Add 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Cover.  Simmer slowly until chicken is tender.  Prepare dumpling dough (below) drop by teaspoonfuls into boiling broth.  Cover closely.  Boil 12 minutes.  Serve chicken and dumplings immediately.-The Household Searchlight
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons shortening
4 tsp baking-powder
1 tsp salt
Sift flour, measure and sift with salt and baking-powder.  Cut in shortening with 2 spatulas.  Add milk until a thick batter is obtained.  Drop by teasponnfuls into boiling broth.  Cover.  Boil 12 minutes.  Serve at once.-The Household Searchlight

Please let us know what your Mother or Grandmother put on the table for Sunday dinner.


  1. PS Mother says, be sure to wring chicken's neck before you pull out feathers!

  2. Ha, Ha! I once watched my grandmother (who lived on a dairy farm) wring the chicken's neck and to my HORROR,it continued to run around without a head! It scarred me for life. Then when I was pregnant with my first child, I bought a whole chicken to prepare for dinner. I took it out of the package and collapsed in heap of tears because it looked so much like a baby! To this day, I buy my chicken already cut in pieces.
    By the way, I love my slow cooker. I use it continuously!

  3. Oh, my goodness!! LOL! It must have been horrible at the time, but it's normal for chickens to run around like that after their heads are cut off, Mother says!

  4. My grandmother had chickens. She had laying hens though. So no chickens running around with their heads chopped off! I remember that they were Bantams. I just loved the iridescent colors on their tails!

  5. I don't know if I could kill a chicken in order to eat it. But I do buy them already to cook up. I also enjoy my slow-cookers. Especially on Sundays, put in the meal and after church, dinner is ready! My mom said when she and my father were first married, they always had her mother for fried chicken dinners on Sundays. As we children came along, there were different dinners on Sunday. Mostly we had roast beef or fried chicken. I haven't fried chicken in over 3o years. I usually bake or use the cook-slower for chicken. Times have changed. Thanks for putting on the information from the 1936 cookbook. Interesting read!

  6. This is one of our family's favorite crock pot recipies. It is simple to make and takes basic ingredients one would normally have on hand. Very tasty indeed!

  7. Yummmmmm....after I get the thought of wringing that chicken's neck out of my head....HA!! ; )

    SOunds wonderful, Mary Ann!