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Cooking on the Go: Chicken Bog

High Praise for a Lowcountry Specialty

You could say that rice built South Carolina. It first arrived there in the late 1600s, and by 1720, the state was producing 20 million pounds of the so-called Carolina Gold a year. Although a century later production began moving to Louisiana, by then a reverence for rice was already deeply rooted in South Carolina cooking.

One of most cherished rice dishes is chicken bog, so-called for its thick and creamy consistency—thicker than a soup or even a stew but still moist and “boggy.” It’s celebrated in Palmetto State homes and at festivals as well as by RV and camp cooks who love easy, one-pot dishes. You can make it in a Dutch oven over campfire coals, on a camp stove, or in the fanciest of RV cook stoves. It’s a journey into yesteryear with a flavor the crew will love.

There are variations, but the basic ingredients are: chicken, sausage, rice, onion, bay leaves, garlic, and whatever degree of heat you like in the form of black or cayenne pepper and Tabasco or other hot sauces. Slim it down using skinned chicken and low-fat sausage. Increase fiber by using brown rice in place of white. Save money by roasting the chicken yourself, or save time by buying a deli-roasted supermarket bird and/or ready-to-serve rice. Below is our version of the recipe, designed to help you prepare a speedy campground meal.

Chicken Bog Recipe

  • 2 cups of bite-size meat torn from a roasted chicken
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each of minced garlic, freshly ground black pepper, seasoned salt
  • 8-ounce piece of cooked smoked sausage, sliced
  • 2 to 3 large whole bay leaves
  • 5 cups of water or chicken broth and 2 cups of raw rice OR 4 cups of ready-to-serve rice and about 1 ½ cups of chicken broth
  • Hot sauce

In a roomy (3- or 4-quart) pot, skillet, or Dutch oven, sizzle the chicken and the onion in the olive oil, gradually adding the garlic, pepper, salt, sausage, and raw rice. Add the water or the chicken broth and the bay leaves. Bring everything to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat until rice is tender—about 20 minutes for white rice, 30 minutes for brown. If you’re using cooked, ready-to-serve rice, follow the instructions above, but instead of adding water/broth and raw rice, simply stir in the prepared rice and broth. Let it all simmer, again for 20 minutes with white rice and 30 minutes for brown. Slow cooking allows all that flavor to come out—no need to rush it. Remove the bay leaves, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Pass the hot sauce. Serves 6.

Cooking-Method Variations

  • Solar Cooker: If using raw rice, heat the water or broth before adding it. Then place in the solar chamber for an hour or so, until the rice is tender.
  • Pressure Cooker: Bring the mixture to full pressure for 1 minute if using white rice, 10 minutes if using brown rice. Let the pressure return to normal. Do not quick-cool.
  • Slow Cooker: If using raw rice, bring the water or broth to a boil before adding it. Cook one hour on high or until the rice is tender; three hours on low. If using cooked rice, heat on low until heated through.
  • Campfire: Sizzle ingredients in a Dutch oven over a hot fire, and bring the water to a boil. Add the raw rice (in keeping with this more traditional cooking method), cover, and nestle in well-started coals for an hour or until the rice is tender.