- 1 whole chicken, cut up or 3 whole chicken breasts – with skin and bones – split
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 celery stalk with leaves, cut in quarters
- 5 carrots, cut in ½ inch rounds
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 qt good quality, low-sodium chicken broth (Optional)
- ¼ cup fat (butter or chicken fat or a combination)
- ¾ cup flour
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups pearl onions (Optional)
- Parsley for garnish
- Put chicken in a deep pot or Dutch oven. Add water to cover, or use a mix of 1 qt chicken broth and any additional water needed to cover the chicken.
- Add the salt, celery, and onion. Cover and simmer until tender (40 -60 min). Next add carrots, and continue to simmer until carrots are tender (about 20-30 min). Meanwhile, make cornbread or biscuits, see 6 below.
- Drain and set aside the broth from chicken. Reserve about 3 cups for the gravy. Note: You can skim the fat and use the chicken fat instead of butter, or use a combination of the two to make ¼ cup of fat needed later on.
- Save the carrots but you can throw out the celery and onion. Remove skin and bones from the chicken pieces and break or cut the meat into about ½ to 1 inch pieces. Put meat back into the pot and pour the rest of the broth (minus the 3 reserved cups) back over the chicken in the pot to keep it hot.
- Heat the ¼ cup chicken fat, butter or fat/butter combo in a saucepan and blend in flour with a whisk. Cook 2 minutes & avoid browning. Gradually whisk in 2 cups of the chicken broth (there will be 1 cup left). Mixture may be quite thick. Gradually whisk in the 2 cups of half and half. Gravy should be thick and smooth, but you can thin it with more broth if necessary. Salt & pepper to taste. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the both with broth and add the chopped chicken and carrots to the gravy. Add the peas (and pearl onions if desired) and allow 5 -10 minutes for them to heat up.
- Meanwhile, make a 9×9 pan of cornbread or cornbread waffles according to the package directions. (We use Jiffy Cornbread mix or Bisquick mix Drop Biscuits for this dish.)
- Cut cornbread into 3” squares, cut squares (or biscuits) in half horizontally and place the two halves on a plate or shallow bowl. (If serving cornbread waffles, serve 1 waffle per person.) Ladle hot, creamy chicken on top and garnish with parsley.
Other alternatives: make baking powder biscuits instead of cornbread; add pearl onions.