Super Bowl

Low-Key, Low Country Chicken and Rice For Game/Any Day

January 31, 2018

I haven’t watched more than ten minutes of an NFL game all season, but my Super Bowl menu has been set for months. I’m making chicken bog, a dish with a long winning streak in my house. Don’t let the name bog you down; I look forward to a big bowl of the stuff as much as the commercials or the halftime show.

A good entree for all those appetizers. Photo by James Ransom

You may not know chicken bog if you don’t hail from the South. It’s a rich stew from the coastal region of South Carolina. Recipes vary greatly, but most are built upon three staples—chicken, sausage, and rice. The name “bog” references the way the chicken sits in the stew like mounds in a bog, or the boggy low-country where rice is grown.

I’ve yet to find a more deeply flavorful, crowd-pleasing dish. Chicken bog has the easygoing, one-pot sensibility of chili, gumbo, or jambalaya, and it can simmer away for hours. Your guests can serve themselves when there’s a break in the action (or during the game and between commercials), and go back for seconds or thirds. Bog is ready-made for beer and hot sauce. It’ll also get along well with the chips, dips, and cheese-stuffed snacks your guests might bring.

I started making chicken bog for the Super Bowl years ago, after finding this version from chef Robert Stehling of Charleston’s charming Hominy Grill. I’ve tweaked it to my family’s taste and incorporated elements of the chicken bog from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, including the steps for browning chicken and building flavor all in the same pot.

By far, my favorite part of cooking this dish is near the end, when stirring in apple cider vinegar and a 1/4 cup (!) of Dijon mustard. It may seem like too much Dijon—I timidly added it, tablespoon by tablespoon, my first time—but trust me, it’s the MVP in this dish, lending so much complexity and depth of flavor with little discernible mustard taste after it’s incorporated. I’ve since used mustard with other stews and braises to great effect.

A Few Notes and Tips

Chicken: Use bone-in, skin-on chicken for the best flavor. I like using chicken thighs because the dark meat holds up to a long simmer. If you’re a fan of chicken livers or giblets, they’re great here, too. Saute them in butter until browned and stir them in near the end. I typically omit livers and giblets when serving a crowd, since not everyone likes them, but they add a deep savoriness to the dish.

Sausage: My favorite sausage to use is pork kielbasa, for its smokiness. Bog is flexible, so add other types of sausage or pork, such as andouille or chorizo for a spicy kick, cubed ham, or crumbled bacon.

Rice: Many bog recipes call for cooking the rice in the same pot, but I share Stehling’s and the Lee Brothers’ preference for cooking the rice separately, then ladling the bog over a big mound of rice. That way, there’s no mushy, gummy, or unevenly cooked rice to contend with, and it’s easier to get the texture and flavor of the bog just right. Any type of long-grain rice will work here, though Carolina gold rice is particularly delicious and fitting for bog.

Game plan: Grab a friend or family member to help you with the chopping (there’s a lot of it!). If you can, make the bog early in the day, or the day before; its flavor will improve, and you can enjoy your own party. All you’ll need to do is warm it on the stove while you’re cooking the rice, and wake up the flavors with a little more Dijon or apple cider vinegar if necessary.

What are you serving on Game Day? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.