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OLS 07-02-2013 09:26 AM

Mama's Chicken Spaghetti
We were not DIRT POOR when I was a kid, but my dad had come up poor, and we were ALWAYS thrifty.
My dad would take me with him on his Saturday haunts (Amvets, Salvation Army, every thrift store in town)
where he would look through every single damn item in the store, looking for tools and such.

One of his favorite dishes was always Chicken Spaghetti. The memory of my mother, always on some
kind of diet, working on a chicken neck is one of my most vivid food memories. She could get every speck
of meat off that thing. I don't know if she thought it was the "diet part" of a chicken or what. She had to
have been awfully mis-guided, cause she also ate the 'king's bite', essentially the tail of the chicken. Gross, huh?

Anyway, one way to avoid the high cost of beef was to buy a lot of chicken, which unlike today, was always
pretty cheap. Avg 39 cents a pound, on sale, maybe 18-25 cents a pound. So we ate a lot of it. The is a
fantastic use of chicken, since the bones' essence combined with a well-browned tomato gravy is just a
match made in heaven.

In olden times this would have been, lol, ONE WHOLE CHICKEN, CUT UP...I say lol because of something
I wrote in the Chicken and Sausage gumbo thread. ANY bird bits will do, if thighs are on sale, that's
especially good. Drumsticks also add a wonderful flavor with the thick bones. It is best to cook it bone-in
and serve it with the bones removed beforehand. As ever in my recipes, if you are cooking solely boneless
breast meat, add this to the pot 20 minutes before you stop cooking it, to keep it moist and delicious.
If you de-boned your own whole chicken, save the (browned) breast chunks til last, too.

2-3 pounds of chicken
One can tomato paste
two cans tomato sauce.
one can whole tomatoes.
1 large onion chopped fine
8 garlic toes.
1/2 cup fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dry
1/2 tablespoon dry oregano
1/4 tablespoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon sugar.
1/4 tablespoon of dry Rosemary (not essential, but authentic)
2 quarts water

Cut up your chicken into about 18-20 pieces. Leave the neckbone in if my mother is coming.

Do one of two things....either fry up your chicken skin in the pan til you end up with a nice pool of oil
and some fried chicken skin. Eat skin. Brown chicken parts in oil and remove. (This is also the time to
set aside the browned breast meat for best results). For a lower fat, and slightly less tasty meal,
brown chicken in about 1/3 cup of olive oil. With chicken removed to the side, add onions to hot oil
and fry until wilted. To this mixture, add garlic...either PRESS out your garlic or slice it super thin.
Fry for a few minutes, then add tomato paste. Stir constantly to avoid burning, and for all future steps.
Continue to fry tomato paste over a low flame until slightly browned. Add tomato sauce and brown for
several minutes more. Add chicken meat and all remaining ingredients except sugar and simmer covered
for 30 minutes over medium heat. Remove lid and add sugar and any browned meat previously set aside.
Allow to simmer uncovered for 20 more minutes. If you have a spatter screen, now is the time to use it.

Once the sauce is thickened to your taste, de-bone the pot if you are serving picky folks, if not, enjoy
the bone-sucking goodness of this dish over your favorite pasta.

OLS 07-02-2013 09:50 AM

Re: Mama's Chicken Spaghetti
HAHA, I forgot to finishe the Dad would take me out on Saturday to hit all the spots, and when we would
return home, we would drive through Avondale, where there was, in a row, a McDonald's, a Popeye's, a Taco Bell,
a Burger King and a Pizza Hut. The combined SMELLS were overwhelming, and I would always think,
'Man, he KNOWS I am hungry, surely TODAY HE IS GONNA STOP...I behaved myself in 4 thrift sotres for 5 hours"
But he never did, because at home we had bread, luncheon meat (pressed ham) and mayonaise...and koolaid.
There was no way he was gonna spend TWO DOLLARS on a meal for us when we had fixins at home. THAT was the
point of that half-told story. It's not that we were POOR, but we were gonna BE POOR if we lived like everybody else.
And HE KNEW about growing up poor. A sweet treat for him growing up was a piece of bread spread with lard and
sprinkled with sugar. That is not a made-up story.

Ciro 07-02-2013 10:26 AM

Re: Mama's Chicken Spaghetti
Thanks for the recipe and the story; going to give this a try this weekend.

jjirons69 07-02-2013 11:00 AM

Re: Mama's Chicken Spaghetti
In stewed chicken, my mom still picks the chicken neck out first.

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