Truly, the title of this recipe says it all. It just sounds exciting… not to mention intriguing. What exactly makes it “party” chicken? And, really, who doesn’t love a good party?
I suppose what makes this dish “party” chicken is simply that it’s one of those convenient-for-entertaining meals that slow cooks in the oven and comes out smelling spectacular. It certainly feels like a perfect fall party dish. Its meaty nature will make it a win with any man (Nick certainly enjoyed it), it’s easy with a short ingredient list, and the long, slow cooking makes it an ideal fall Sunday dinner (so as not to distract from watching football). Although it’s still regularly 90+ degrees in Georgia, September calls to mind those first crisp, chilly days in Maine, and the rich, smoky flavor of this hearty meal complements the fall weather nicely (and would be excellent in winter, too).
I’ll admit – I was a little skeptical about how these ingredients would come together, but I shouldn’t have been. This meal was really delicious, if not particularly healthy. The recipe comes from a cookbook titled “Keep Cooking – The Maine Way” by Marjorie Standish, which I love because it’s a little bit old school and sometimes calls for ingredients I have to look up (or may vaguely recall from visits at my grandparents’ home). It is a beautiful testament to the tradition of home cooking in Maine specifically.
- 4 good sized chicken breasts (you divide in half, so this makes 8 servings)
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 package dried beef (or 1 small jar)
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1/2 pint sour cream
Divide each chicken breast in half, giving you eight servings. Wrap each half with a piece of bacon. Using a buttered, shallow 9×13 baking pan, cover the bottom with thin slices of dried beef (I used beef jerky, which appeared to be dried beef or similar based on my google search). Arrange the chicken breasts on the dried beef.
Mix the soup and sour cream, and spoon over all. Cover pan and refrigerate for 24 hours. (Please take note of this instruction, and that it takes three hours to bake. I did not… and had to revise my meal plan for the week when I realized at 7pm on the night I planned to make this that I needed to plan ahead.)
The next day, bring to room temperature before placing in oven (I forgot to do this, and it still turned out well). Bake uncovered at 275 degrees for 3 hours.
This recipe made our house smell delicious. Our mouths were watering long before it was time to eat, and we weren’t disappointed when we did.
On a follow up note, we had some leftovers (I love leftovers), and the following night, I made a chicken soup with them. It really ended up being more of a “stoup,” with the sour cream and mushroom soup creating a thicker, creamier broth. I threw in onion, potatoes, kale, and the chicken breast (with beef and bacon), diced up. I added about a cup and a half of water, and the better part of a carton of chicken broth. This was a great mix of flavors as well – hearty and smoky, not much like a typical chicken soup.