As I was rummaging through a used book store, I came across a cookbook written by Francois Rysavy, the former White House chef during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. What struck me is how very simple many of the meals were. I guess I always imaged elaborate meals but, apparently, canned cream of chicken soup was a favorite of JFK’s. Seriously, the recipe says to follow the directions for making the soup, add a dollop of whipped cream and top with a sprinkle of paprika. So, the next time you’re feeling presidential, whip out that cream of chicken soup!
This recipe for Chicken Lafayette is from a luncheon hosted by the Kennedys to honor the Prime Minister of Greece on April 17, 1961. The luncheon consisted of
White House Terrine
The original recipe called for chicken consommé but I substituted chicken broth and a bit of chicken bouillon since my grocery store didn’t have the consommé. Consommé is made without water like broth is which results in a richer flavor. Just be careful if you use the bouillon cubes to deepen the broth’s flavor because of the high sodium content of both the broth and bouillon. You probably won’t need to add any of the salt called for in the recipe.
If you have a lot of bacon drippings on hand, you will appreciate that this recipe calls for 1/2 cup of it. I don’t generally have that much bacon drippings around so I complimented the bacon drippings with lard to get to the called for amount of fat.
Despite having to make the substitutions, this recipe is very easy to make. I had the butcher cut up a whole chicken for me but you can use whatever chicken parts you want. The gravy is to die for. I resisted the urge to just put it in a bowl and eat it like soup!
- One roasting chicken cut into parts or chicken parts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup bacon drippings or combination of bacon drippings and lard
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken consommé or low-sodium broth strengthened with bouillon
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 Tablespoon onion, very finely minced
- Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour.
- Fry the chicken in the butter and bacon drippings until golden brown
- Remove the chicken. Drain the drippings, leaving about 3 Tablespoons in the pan.
- Add the Tablespoon of flour, stirring until it is well blended.
- Whisk in the consommé, sour cream and onion.
- Return chicken to the sauce.
- Simmer until the chicken is done.
- Serve over rice.