I was born in Natchez. We always ate well because my mother was a great cook. She was one of the first housewives in Natchez to have Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In fact, I’ve got it here. I got all her books after she passed away in ‘04. Her name was Katherine, but everybody called her Kitty. Here, I wanted to show you. I saved this old clipping. My mother won a new pair of high heels from Burns shoe store on Main Street in Natchez with her chicken recipe. It was a housewife competition, and this was the ‘60s. Maybe she adapted duck à l’orange and just added the bacon. As far as I know she invented it. She used to make it around the holidays and it made the house smell great. This was the first time she entered a competition. I was 12.
My mother was a strong, determined person. She’d bring us to New Orleans and take us to Antoine’s and teach us culture. We grew up learning all the ballroom dances. After we’d gone off to college, she started her own travel agency. This was back when travel agents could do pretty well because you didn’t have computers. She traveled the world.
I make her chicken a couple of times a year, but I cook a variety of things. I love French cooking. To me, if you want to be a good cook, you have to learn some French technique. When I first went to culinary school at Delgado, Mastering the Art of French Cooking was my bible. It really breaks down the basics of stocks and sauces. I made this [turning pages], Lobster Thermidor, on Christmas eve. Only a French chef could come up with this because it’s nothing but butter and cream and reduction sauces involving the fat in the head of the lobsters.
I have an outdoor kitchen. We used to have a small patio and when we put the swimming pool in, I saved the lumber and built the cooking shed out back. I’m really getting into charcuterie. I want to get better at making pâtés. I want to master pâté en croute, just one time. Just to say I could do it. I’ve smoked meats for years and I’ve made galantines and boulettes, which are almost like a mousseline. Galantine is where you debone a bird and take the meat and make a stuffing and keep the skin intact, pull it back together, wrap it with bacon and toothpicks and bake it.
I already had a cast-iron smoker that handles 50-60 pounds of meat, and I’ve always cooked barbecue. Then my brother-in-law gave me a stainless steel propane grill, and I have a crawfish boiling pot that can cook a whole sack at a time. The place where I get my fresh chickens, in Reserve, has all these great outdoor cooking accessories, so that’s where I got the two-top burner. It’s pretty much a complete outdoor kitchen, with all I need. I like to collect my tools. Every since I got into this, I go to restaurant supply places just like I go to music stores. These are my mother’s poultry scissors that she bought in Italy.
I’ve tried not to mess with this recipe too much. It’s basically the same as my mom’s, except for the zest, and the Worchestershire, and the hot sauce, and the horseradish. I can’t help it; it’s my New Orleans influence. My mom’s recipe says bacon, but I use andouille to give it that Laplace touch.
Mother Kitty’s Curry Glazed Chicken
1 (10.5-oz) can beef consommé
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 onion, finely diced
6 oz andouille, finely diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons Heinz chili sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon orange and/or lemon zest
2 chickens, quartered, brushed with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper
Whisk together consommé and flour. Add remaining ingredients, except for chicken. Simmer to thicken, about five minutes. Set aside. Bake chicken at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove juices. Spoon half of the curry glaze over chicken and bake for 20 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over chicken and bake for another 20 minutes.