I love South Carolina.

Although it's been a coon's age {see comments} since I last visited the Palmetto State, I was fortunate to spend many blissful months there when I was a teenager on vacation from life on the farm in Knox County, Kentucky.

South Carolinians approach food the way folks from Louisiana do. As they're eating one meal they're planning the next and discussing food related side matters all the while.

It's a good life.

On one of my many visits I was fortunate enough to have a native prepare a big kettle of a jambalaya-like stew of chicken, rice, sausage, peppers, onions and bay leaves called chicken bog.

That was many years ago but I've been fascinated by the dish every since.

The history of chicken bog is fraught with many narratives.

The dish dates back approximately 300 years and like its cousin pilav, its short list of ingredients has many variations with the addition or subtraction of certain components rendering the dish "not chicken bog" by some estimates.

Rice is the lone constant. Without rice, it simply is not a bog.

Walk into any grocery store near Myrtle Beach and you will see a rack filled with 100 pound bags of rice.

South Carolinians know and love their rice.

I connected with South Carolina when I was just a young buck and to this day I have a love for the foods of this great state.

You could spend a lifetime focusing solely on the cuisine of the Gullah people.What a list these foods comprise: pannygetta, okra daube, tipsy pudding, frogmore stew, calapash, hoppin john....the list goes on.

Along with Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Kentucky, South Carolina stands at the pinnacle of USA eating.

Time to eat.

After a few trial and error filled sessions in the kitchen I came up with the following.

Ingredients:

1 each Hen, Roasting

4 each Bay Leaves

2 each Green Onions, Giant, Bunches, chopped

4 each Peppers, Poblano [ Green Bells are more traditional ], chopped

1 each Butter, stick, 4 oz

2 c. Rice, long grain, Carolina Gold is incredible but under no circumstance use quick rice

8 oz Bacon

8 oz Andouille sausage, chopped

Salt and Pepper

Method

* Submerge chicken in large vessel of cold water, use enough water so you will have 5 cups of broth at end of process

* Bring to boil with bay leaves

* Reduce to simmer

* Cook for 90 minutes or til chicken is tender

* Remove chicken and shred meat from bone, reserve meat and broth,

* Return carcass to pot, simmer one hour more with reserved broth

* Strain broth, reserve, wipe out pot

Method Part 2

* Cook bacon til right at crisp, in chicken pot

* Remove cooked bacon, chop

* Saute' peppers and onions in bacon fat

* Add rice, cook til rice starts to pop

* Carefully add 5 cups of reserved broth, butter, plenty salt and pepper, Andouille sausage and shredded chicken meat

* Bring to boil, stirring once

* Reduce to simmer, place lid on pan

* Cook til rice is done-20 to 25 minutes

* Turn out on large serving platter

* Garnish with crispy bacon

Voila!

One of the great dishes of the Deep South is now ready.

This is a classic, one-dish meal best served at the end of a day's frolic in the Atlantic Ocean or similar starvation-inducing activity.

It is one of the great contributions of South Carolina to United States cuisine

Cooking notes:

5 cups of broth yields a very wet Chicken Bog which is how I grew up eating it. If you'd like a drier Chicken Bog reduce broth to 4 cups

* Chopped green onions make a good garnish along with the crispy bacon

* Another great, longer, more complicated recipe is here:

http://www.ansonmills.com/page19/page45/page45.html