This chicken bog is one of my favorite things to serve to a crowd on game day (or for any casual gathering). It’s a rich stew with rice from the coastal region of South Carolina, and the name “bog” is thought to reference the way the chicken sits in the stew like mounds in a bog, or the boggy Lowcountry where rice is grown. My version is a combination of Robert Stehling’s, the chef at Charleston’s Hominy Grill, and Matt and Ted Lee’s, from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook.
Don’t skip the Dijon mustard at the end: it’s my very favorite part of cooking this dish. It lends so much complexity and depth of flavor, with little discernible mustard flavor after it’s incorporated. If you like chicken livers or giblets (a common ingredient in many bogs), feel free to sauté in butter and stir them end near the end. The bog can be made a day in advance, and warmed on the stove. Serve the bog in big bowls, over a mound of white rice, with hot sauce passed on the side.
Dry chicken well. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Add oil to a a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs (skin-side down) and sear until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. (Brown in batches if needed so they don’t steam.) Remove chicken to a plate; set aside. Leave 2 to 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan; drain off any excess.
To the pan, add the peppers, onion, celery, thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes; season with pinch or two of salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes (cut into small chunks with kitchen shears right in the pan) and bring to a boil; adjust heat so mixture gently simmers.
While you’re sweating the vegetables, make the dark roux by melting the butter in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture turns a deep chestnut brown in color, about 10 minutes. Add the roux to the simmering tomatoes; cook about 5 minutes.
Return the chicken thighs to the pan, and add kielbasa, stock, and bay leaves; simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through.
Remove chicken with tongs to a large plate; when cool enough to handle, remove skin and chicken from the bone; shred the meat; and return to the pan. Continue to simmer. (At this point, the bog can gently simmer on the stove for several hours; add a little water or stock, if needed, if it starts to dry out.)
When ready to serve, stir vinegar and mustard into stew. Taste, and adjust seasoning and acidity (I usually add at least 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar). Remove and discard bay leaves. Add hot sauce, to taste, and pass more when serving. Stir in parsley, and serve over white rice.