Chicken Mull is the old name for Stewed Chicken in milk. It’s also sometimes called Jallop. This is a cold weather, church supper dish that has spread from its Georgia Carolina origins and now pops up in a few other spots.
If you want your kids to come home on their college breaks, make sure this is simmering into its second hour when they walk in the door. They will never stiff you in favor of Aspen again.
I first had this on a family car trip when we crashed a Methodist Wednesday night church supper. No really. It was coming dark and Mama was starting the “we need to pull over soon honey” chorus when it hit. The smell of chicken, but better. Something like Chicken 3.0. It was coming from a small church in this small town with no visible eating establishments. But Daddy had a plan. First we checked into a motel, then he retrieved the Gideon Bible in the bedside table. With Bible under arm and sporting a hail fellow well met attitude, we entered the portals of free food nirvana.
Endlessly tweekable this recipe’s only unnegotiable requirements are to brown the chicken well and poach it at a low temperature in milk and lemon rind.
And except for the lemon there’s basically NO PEELING. And we all know that’s the most annoying thing about garlic, right? Right. So after you’ve browned yer bird, dust off the veg and give it a milk bath for the next hour or so. Time off to watch Dr. Oz or beat the children that are still smaller than you. Whatever appeals as being most pleasant or satisfying.
Now an hour of fulfilling activities has passed and it’s time to check on old milk bird. Is he swimming in shallower waters? Yes? Then it’s definitely time to take the top off and let him deepen his tan for about twenty minutes. Now wiggle his hip. If it’s looser than yours after a session of Bikram Yoga – bird is done!
Remove carefully to a platter and cut up into parts. Strain the sauce and adjust the seasonings. You may thicken the sauce and pour it over the chicken parts like this:
Or you can chop up the chicken and serve it in the gravy with crackers like hardcore Georgia folk do:
Keep in mind that this gravy will be so tasty you may have to issue ration cards. Make some mashed potatoes, toast, or rice to soak it up if you don’t go for the soupy version. Fight over the seconds then retire to your Barcalounger where you can snooze till it’s bedtime. Or if you’re still alert watch this video where a food reporter happily discovers mull in Athens, Georgia.
- 1 whole chicken (2 to 3 lbs.)
- 2 lemons
- 3 medium sized shallots, sliced in half lengthwise, no need to peel
- 4 to 6 cloves
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed or sliced in half lengthwise, no need to peel
- 4 to 6 sprigs of your favorite fresh herb. Can be tarragon, sage, thyme or marjoram.
- several celery leaves (if you have them)
- 1 quart whole milk (bird should be about ½ submerged)
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- curly parsley or chives for garnish
- Melt some butter or olive oil in a pot over medium heat and brown the bird all over.
- Lift out bird and pour off excess fat.
- Add milk.
- Thinly slice off in strips the rind of both lemons into the pot, replace the bird, and put other ingredients on each side.
- Put the lid on it and cook on 325 for about 1 hour.
- Take the lid off and let the chicken brown a bit and the sauce reduce (about 30 minutes).
- When it starts to fall apart, lift the chicken out of the pot and either cut into pieces or shred.
- Strain the sauce, Reduce under medium heat, adjust seasonings, decorate with parsley or herbs and serve over noodles or rice (or saltine crackers if you’re shooting for hillbilly authenticity).
- You may grate a little lemon zest & nutmeg over the dish for added flavor.
You can also add half a cinnamon stick.
Because of the long moist cooking method you can get a bigger tougher bird like a hen. It will cook up nicely. Same goes for a couple of chicken breasts with the bone in.
Only downside of poaching in milk is the curdling that forms along the edge of the pan. Make no mistake. It’s ugly. However, it’s easily wiped off if you're serving it in the pan. If you serve the chicken on a platter you'll be straining the sauce and it'll be a non issue.
Laine C Simmons says
Amazing results!! Now permanently added to my favorite recipe list!!
Light bright flavor, yet serious comfort food!!
Carine Clary says
Very comforting indeed and perfect for winter. Thanks for writing!
Ann Hilliard says
Never heard of this dish before Sunday. A man shared with us about his mother making it when he was a kid to share with the firefighters. We asked questions & he described (quite accurately). This is my first research. Like your dad’s plan. Must give this a go. Thanks.
Carine Clary says
It really is good and a perfect dish for the winter. And as for my Daddy, well he always could sniff out a good meal wherever we would find ourselves. Hope you enjoy eating it.
Rey Mohammed says
I expect this dish got its start in Colonial days, and it was a simplified version of the Anglo-Indian chicken mulligatawny. That, too, is cooked down in a dairy broth– in that case, yogurt, and of course, it has red pepper. But it also has a “tawny” part: things like shredded carrot and ground ginger or turmeric. The dish has regional variations, and in summer may be served cold, with some added keifir/buttermilk and green coriander. This isn’t the only dish that came round the world to our ports, but of the questionable etymology of *burgoo*, I’ll speak later.
Carine Clary says
Thanks for the historical background! Hope you get a chance to make it.
Kayla E Bowen says
I love this recipe the only difference is I make everything using water first instead of milk and then add some of the broth to the milk with the lemon skin herbs and shredded chicken. It’s so comforting and I have some extra chicken broth this way for other recipes!
Carine Clary says
That’s a great idea Kayla! Lemon makes everything from chicken to cookies taste better. And if you like limes I have a Christmas cookie recipe for Cardamom/Lime Sugar Cookies. Give it a try and Happy Holidays!