You Will Love The Hell Out Of Yummy Chicken And Peaches Recipe
This week, we are going to make one of the first things I learned how to cook – my mother’s Chicken and Peaches. The fruit is ripe, the chicken is chopped, and I absolutely WILL fire up the oven in the summertime for THIS.
Who wants to make a big meal on a hot day? Me! Whoopee, I hope it takes an hour, and that I get hot flashes at the same time! I spent months freezing to death, waiting for summer produce, just like Mom taught me to. She was the daughter of a sharecropper in the rural South, born during the Depression. Fresh produce means more to her than money, and sometimes you have to sweat to appreciate how dear it is. Ma, I feel you. This is one of those times.
We didn’t have central air conditioning when I was a kid. We had this giant pig of a box mounted in a window, something Dad picked up at an auction. It was loud and it had a chemical odor. I’m pretty sure it had to be started like a lawnmower, and we didn’t use it very much. In the summer, Mom prepared fresh, raw produce or things that could be cooked in five minutes, to keep the kitchen from turning into an approximation of Hell or Arizona. She was feeding eight people breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it was important not to die from a heat stroke. Every now and then she would go out of her way and make our favorite thing that only she could cook – chicken and peaches. I respect the fact that she never wasted fresh food in season, but I think it takes more than practical motivations for someone to work over a hot stove in the summer. People will risk their health and safety to satisfy a craving. Chicken with peaches put my mother in that place.
You can peel the peaches with a knife, which takes forever, or par-boil them for one minute and slip the skin off with your fingers. Put everything in a bowl, mix well, and set this aside on the counter. Let it sweat, to release the juices. Taste this and see if it needs anything. We’ll come back later, don’t you worry!
Pat the chicken dry. Heat oil and butter in a large cast iron skillet. In a gallon-sized plastic bag, mix the dry ingredients. Put the chicken pieces in the bag, shake off the excess flour, and fry each piece for 2-3 minutes on each side. They won’t have to be cooked all the way through, just browned.
If your cast iron pan is large enough, arrange the peach mixture around the chicken and pop everything into the oven. Or, you can transfer everything to a large roasting pan. Lightly oil a roasting pan first, add the peach mixture, and then add the chicken pieces. Bake this for 10 minutes, baste the chicken with pan juices, and reduce the oven temperature to 350°. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, basting the chicken at least once more. Check for doneness and serve. The liquid will be hot and thick, and – Jesus! – just like Mom’s.
This dish goes great with mashed potatoes or rice. I highly recommend a nice Southern salad on the side. All you need to do is rip up some lettuce (I used a mix of Black Seeded Simpson and Green Ice), chop a ripe tomato, and sprinkle in some chopped Vidalia onions. Make a dressing out of mayo, cider vinegar, some white sugar, paprika, a pinch of salt, and a butt-ton of ground pepper. Pour this over the salad and mix well. Add crushed poor-people crackers on top – saltines are the way to go.