Jerri’s Yorkshire Chicken

This is another recipe Jerri found in the Better Homes and Gardens Meat Cookbook long ago when we lived in Kentucky. My mother and father would have loved it, and I sure do.

The name is a play upon Yorkshire Pudding, a delectable dish made in England to accompany the beef roast traditionally served for Sunday dinner. The pudding seems to have originated in the north of England, and the first recipe was published in 1737. It was first called “Dripping Pudding” because it used the drippings from the roast. It was served before the roast, and may have been a cheap way to fill up the diners before the meat appeared.

Food historians believe that thrifty English housewives were making dripping pudding long before the recipe was written down. It is an obvious way to turn beef fat into something that people will want to eat rather than wasting it or feeding it to the dogs. Today, Yorkshire pudding is served as a side dish with the meat. It is still made with beef drippings and may be baked in a flat casserole or in muffin tins in a hot oven.

The ones baked in muffin tins look like collapsed popovers. When a waitperson offers you a popover before the steak arrives, that delicate muffin dripping butter on your fingers is the cousin of a humble pudding probably invented to stretch the meat budget.

Unlike Yorkshire pudding, which is baked separately from the meat, the batter for Yorkshire chicken is baked in the casserole with the meat. Since the chicken pieces have been browned before they are placed in the casserole, most of the fat has been rendered from the skin. The batter picks up flavor from the chicken without adding a lot of fat to the dish.

Jerri’s Yorkshire chicken has a simple batter that you pour over the chicken pieces. The pudding complements the chicken for a great Sunday dinner, and you have made the bread as well as the main course in one dish. I especially like the crusty pudding on the edges of the casserole.

INGREDIENTS:

3 to 4 lb. frying chicken
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. ground sage
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
3 T shortening
1 tsp. baking powder
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
4 T butter
2 T chopped parsley

PROCEDURE:

Preheat the oven to 350º and melt the shortening in a skillet.

If you bought a whole chicken, cut it into eight pieces. Mix a quarter cup of flour with a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of sage and a dash or two of the two peppers. Dredge the meat in the flour mixture and brown the pieces in the skillet over moderate heat, turning them to make sure that they are browned on all sides. Remove them from the skillet and allow them to drain on a rack or paper towels.

While the chicken is browning, beat the eggs until lemon colored in a mixing bowl. Warm the milk and melt the butter in the microwave. Stir the milk and butter into the eggs. Mix a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking powder with the flour and sift the dry ingredients into the liquid. Stir just until smooth. Chop the parsley and blend it into the batter.

Put the browned chicken into a deep three quart casserole and pour the batter over the pieces. Place the casserole on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for about an hour. You can test for doneness by sticking a fork into one of the larger breast pieces to make sure that the juices run clear.

Yorkshire chicken makes a wonderful meal with a green salad and cranberry sauce.