Ciao Italia Blog Exclusive: A Chicken in Every Pot

June 4, 2009

This recession session has lasted way too long. There seems to be gloom and doom in all the news we read. But one byproduct of these difficult times is that it seems everyone is thinking about how to save money, conserve what we already have, and it has forced many to find their kitchen and make dinner instead of reservations.

You know what they say about history repeating itself. May I direct your attention to a familiar quote of another time, the Great Depression, when “a chicken in every pot” was the wish of thousands of out of work people standing in bread lines.

Well, I did a little research and it turns out that that phrase said to be uttered by President Herbert Hoover was actually the genius of France’s King Henry IV (1553-1610). He observed: “I wish there would not be a peasant so poor in all my realm who would not have a chicken in his pot every Sunday.”

How this phrase got attributed to Hoover is still a mystery. But be that as it may, I’ve been tightening my belt too, and I was thinking about chicken because I had some leftover in the refrigerator and decided to make this chicken in a pot recipe for you.

Hope you like it, and oh, it works well with turkey and can be served on Sundays too!

Chicken Pot Pasta

Serves 4 to 6

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1/2 cup chicken broth
One ten ounce package fresh spinach leaves, rinsed
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
Salt to taste
Grinding black pepper to taste
1/2 pound cooked elbow or butterfly pasta
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
Two 12 ounce cans evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
Grinding fresh nutmeg

ChiceknPotPasta2 Put the onion and carrots in a 2 quart soup pot. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and lower the heat to simmer. Cook just until the carrots are tender. Turn off the heat and add the spinach. Cover and let the spinach wilt down just from the heat of the pot. Add the chicken, salt and pepper to taste and cooked pasta. Stir well. Cover and set aside.

In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and make a smooth paste or roux. Slowly add the evaporated milk, continuing to whisk until it thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. Add salt to taste and a grinding of nutmeg.

Pour the sauce over the pasta mixture, combining the ingredients well. Reheat slowly and serve directly from the pot!

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