How to Cook a Southern Chicken Bog

whole chicken in slow cooker

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In North Carolina, county fairs hold chicken bog cook-off competitions. In South Carolina, the state tourism department heralds a traditional recipe and promotes the the annual Loris Bog-Off Festival, a full-day celebration centered around the legendary dish. Yet outside of the Carolinas, the mention of chicken bog often elicits a blank stare. The pilau, or pilaf-type, dish features rice, chicken and savory flavorings. Cook your own Southern-style chicken bog as the grain and protein portions of a meal. Simply add a side of vegetables, a glass of milk and fruit for dessert to create a well-rounded, nutritious feast.

Place a fresh or fully thawed whole chicken, breast side up, in a large cooking pot or Dutch oven.

Pour 4 to 6 cups water into the pot, depending on the size of the chicken.

Add one large chopped yellow onion, a peeled and chopped carrot, a stalk of celery cut into 1-inch pieces and three to four cloves of peeled garlic to the pot.

Sprinkle 2 to 3 tsp. salt over the chicken, along with two to three sprigs each of thyme and parsley, and a bay leaf.

Bring the pot to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then turn the heat down to low or medium-low to maintain a slow, simmering boil.

Place the lid onto the pot and cook the chicken for an hour.

Lift the chicken from the pot with tongs and set it aside to cool. When the pot has cooled to room temperature, set it into the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

Remove the skin from the chicken once it has cooled enough to handle.

Strip the meat from the carcass, break it into 2-inch or slightly smaller pieces, and place it into the refrigerator in a covered bowl.

Skim the layer of fat from the top of the cooled chicken broth in the cooking pot and pour the broth through a strainer into a bowl.

Measure out 4 cups strained broth and return it to the pot, saving the remaining broth for another use.

Set the cooking pot over medium-high heat to bring the broth to a boil.

Pour 1 cup long-grain rice into the boiling broth.

Add about a cup of sliced smoked sausage to the pot and turn the heat down until the liquid is lightly bubbling.

Cook the rice for about 30 minutes or until it is completely tender and the liquid volume has reduced slightly.

Stir ½ cup sliced green onions, ¼ cup chopped parsley and 1 or 2 tbsp. butter into the rice.

Add the chicken pieces and stir gently to fold them into the rice mixture.

Cook the rice mixture for 20 to 30 minutes, or longer if necessary, to reduce the liquid. Stir occasionally to prevent the food from sticking to the pan.

Remove the chicken bog from the heat when it is the consistency of a juicy, thick soup.