At the end of day 1 of the Beer Chicken Trio, we had a container with roasted chicken meat and a stock pot full of simmering chicken bones and whatnot.

Generally you’ll want the stock to simmer down to about 1/2 to 2/3 the original liquid volume. This creates a very rich stock which I prefer using over thinner, more clear stock. It should take anywhere between 8 and 12 hours of simmering to get this volume reduction, though it could take longer if you’ve got a larger pot or more liquid. Once you’re happy with the stock, it will need to be strained.

Straining out the stock can proceed in a number of ways. My preference is to line a colander with two layers paper towels and pour the liquid through the contraption. This will filter out pretty much all the bones and particulate matter as well as much of the fat. Some fat will make it through the strainer, but that can either be left in or skimmed off, depending on preference.

From there, reserve enough of the stock for the next recipe, the rest can be put in air-tight containers and put in the fridge or freezer until needed. Frozen chicken stock will last about 6 months.

For dinner on Day 2, I make the wonderful Cajun Dish: Chicken Big Mamou. With a few tweaks based on a few serendipitous occurances at the restaurant where we first sampled this dish. Namely, the original recipe calls for serving the dish over pasta, wheras we were accidentally served the dish with rice. Upon comparison of the two methods of serving, we found that we much preferred the dish with rice. Second, the restaurant made the dish with chicken and sausage, rather than just chicken. We have since found that we favor the inclusion of sausage with the dish. Also, when I make the recipe, I make either a double or triple batch. The recipe below is for a single batch.

It will look a lot like this when it's on the stove. Sadly this is not from my kitchen and I do not have any pictures of the mixture as I actually make it.

Recipe: Chicken and Sausage Big Mamou

2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground cayenne or habenero pepper (Omit if going for a milder version of the recipe)
1/2 tsp dried sweet basil leaves
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 stick unsalted butter
1 Large Onion, Diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp Habenero Tabasco Sauce (or whatever hot sauce you desire using)
3 cups tomato sauce
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 cup finely chopped green onion

1/2 pound Smoked or Kielbasa sausage, sliced into 1/2″ thick disks
1 pound cooked chicken from beer chicken, cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried sweet basil leaves
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne or habenero powder.

Cooked rice to serve

Combine the first 6 ingredients (the spices) into a small dish and set aside. Melt the butter in a large saucepot. Add onions and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions are transparent. Add the seasoning mix and continue to saute over medium heat while stirring often for 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in the sugar and green onion. Simmer on low for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine the seasonings listed under the chicken meat (salt through habenero powder) in a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware container. Place the chicken in the seasoning mix and then tighly close the container. Vigorously shake the container to evenly distribute the seasoning on the chicken. Set aside. Lightly grease a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Cook the sliced sausage until browned on both sides and a fair amount of oil has leached out of it. Remove cooked sausage and set aside. Pour the chicken mixture into the heated oil from the sausage and cook until the chicken pieces are slightly browned on all sides. Drain away remaining oil and set chicken aside.

Once the sauce has simmered for the 40 minutes, carefully add the chicken and the sausage to it. Simmer for another 20 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve over rice. Crusty bread or cornbread make a good sides for this dish as well.

And that’s it. I used to do this particular progression of cooking about once a month but have since flagged quite a bit. I think we’re lucky to have this particular set of dishes more than once or twice a year anymore. Such is life.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?