The home front housewife’s Victory Garden would be keeping the kitchen stocked with fresh vegetables this time of year. Those fresh veggies were healthy and helped a family save rationing points and money by allowing them to fill up on meals that included homegrown food.
This is a light, easy to fix late summer meal that works as well today as it did in the 1940s. The chicken recipe comes from the 1944 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book.
Barbecued Fried Chicken
- 2 1/2 lb fryer, cut up
- 4 tbsp salad oil or fat
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp bottled thick meat sauce
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 c catsup
- dash tabasco sauce
Wash the fryer and dry it slightly. You can reserve the backbone, neck, and wing tips for making chicken broth later. Heat the salad oil in a skillet, then add the chicken. Brown on all sides over high heat. Remove the chicken and place in a shallow baking pan. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken. Bake uncovered in a moderate oven of 350°F for one hour or until the chicken is tender, basting every 10 minutes with the sauce in the pan. Place in a broiler oven which has been preheated (unless the manufacturer’s instructions say otherwise) and allow to brown slightly. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Remove from broiler. Put the chicken on a platter and pour the remaining sauce over it to serve. Serves 4.
Note: In true home front housewife style, I used what we had on hand to make this recipe. I used chicken breasts instead of a whole fryer, and it worked well.
Victory Garden Vegetables
I used squash, zucchini, and onions, but any vegetable you have on hand will work. Just slice, toss in a skillet, and cook with a little salt and pepper. This is also a great way to use up any leftover vegetables you have on hand. I’ve also added garlic pepper and/or cheese to the squash, zucchini, and onions. The melted cheese adds just the right amount of gooey indulgence to the dish.
The chicken breasts were very moist and flavorful. I like steak sauce, but I very rarely use it on steaks. This was a nice way to incorporate that flavor into a meal. Seven people ages 2 to adult tested this menu and everyone loved it. Next time I might add another side dish or a dessert, but the chicken and vegetables on their own were very satisfying.
This looks really good. I can see why this might have been a go-to dish back in the WWII years. Simplicity with a kick. The homemade steak sauce on the chicken is what intrigues me the most. I’ll bet that browning the chicken under the broiler really makes the sauce sing! Nicely done. Thanks for sharing this.
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The sauce was really nice. I had never thought to use it on chicken before, but I sure am glad I tried it. It was delicious.