History of Poultry Dishes

Chicken a la King:

This is a rich chicken dish that uses lots of cream with pimentos and sherry.  It is served either on hot buttered toast, pastry shells, or in a nest of noodles.  There are several stories/legends as to who created this dish.  A few are as follows:;

Chicken a la King is a rich chicken dish that uses lots of cream with pimentos and sherry.  It is served either on hot buttered toast, pastry shells, or in a nest of noodles.  There are several stories/legends as to who created this dish. A few are as follows:

1880s – It is said to be created by the chef at the Delmonico restaurant in the 1880s after Foxhall P. Keene, horse breeder and well-heeled son of Wall Street broker and horse breeder, James R. Keene (1838-1913), known as “Silver Fox of Wall Street.” Supposedly Foxhall dreamed aloud to him about a pimento-studded cream sauce.  The chef made the dish and called it Chicken a’ la Keene.  This later evolved into the more regal-sounding Chicken a’ la King.  Charles Ranhofer, a French chef, was the chef at Delmonico’s from 1862 to 1896.

1881 – It is also said that a chef at the famous Claridge Hotel in London, England created created this dish in 1881 for sportsman J. R. Keene (Foxhall’s father from the story above).  His horse, named Foxhall, had just won the 1881 Grand Prix de Paris (3,000 meter race for 3-year old fillies and colts at Longchamp, Paris, France).  This was the first American horse to win this race.

1890s – Chef George Greenwald of the Brighton Beach Hotel, Brighton Beach, New York, created it in 1890s.  He was an excellent cook and liked to prepare new dishes for his favorite customers.  One summer afternoon, he prepared a special chicken dish for Mr. and Mrs. E. Clarke King and served it for supper.  Mr. King thought it was wonderful and told Greenwald to put it on the menu.  Chef Greenwald added to the menu and called it Chicken a ‘la King after Mr. King.

Brighton Beach is a neighborhood in southwestern Brooklyn lying between Manhattan Beach and Coney Island. William Engeman, an early real estate developer bought land in 1868 and named it Brighton Beach, after a famous British resort. Engerman built the elegant Hotel Brighton went up in 1878.  In 1888, the hotel was moved inland in a spectacular feat of engineering with more than 120 railroad cars and six locomotives to save it from destruction from the eroding beaches.

1896 – In Fannie Merritt Farmer’s 1896 updated version of the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, she has two recipes for Chicken a la King.

1901 – The 1901 Settlement Cook Book: Containing Many Recipes Used In Settlement Cooking Classes, The Milwaukee Public School Cooking Centers and Gathered From Various Other Reliable Sources, Compiled By Mrs. Simon Kander, Lizzie Black Kander (1858-1940) has a recipe for Chicken a la King.  This fund-raising cookbook traces immigrant history through ethnic food, especially Jewish.

Check out What’s Cooking America’s favorite Chicken a la King Recipe.


Chicken Booyah:

A super “stick to your ribs” soup-stew made with chicken.  While chicken soup is universal and variations of this dish can be found in many cultures world wide, northeastern Wisconsin is the only place in the world where Chicken Booyah is found.  It is a favorite at the many festivals, church picnics, bazaars, and any other large gathering in the northeast part of Wisconsin.  This chicken soup is typically made in large 10 or 20-gallon batches, cooked outdoors over a wood fire, and worked on by several people at once.  Restaurants have their own special recipe. Booyah is lovingly called “Belgian Penicillin.”

The first Belgian immigrants arrived in Wisconsin in 1853.  These immigrants were from the French-speaking part of Belgium, with their own language called “Walloon.” Walloon is not a version of French.  It is a language with its own grammar and vocabulary.  Even today, the area settled by these people in Wisconsin, they settled in a corner of eastern Wisconsin near Lake Michigan, is known as the Walloon area.  The theory is that the uneducated Belgian could not spell, thus writing down the word he heard.

It is believed that the word “Booyah” comes from the word “bouillon.”  Another theory is that the word comes from the French word “bouillir,” but also like the Walloon word “bouyu” (pronounced like “boo-yu” with a “u” between and with the  French pronunciation of the letter).  For years people have been trying to figure out the origination and what makes it so special.

Yannick Bauthie of Gembloux, Belgium sent me the following information:

In history, Walloons spoke Walloon.  Only the most educated people (counts, dukes, scholars, monks, etc.) spoke French as a second language.  Our people started to learn French when Belgium was created, in 1830.  And even then, Walloon remained our main language until World War II.  My grand father spoke Walloon much better than French.  So, most settlers coming from Wallonia hardly spoke much French.  That’s why, in my humble opinion, “booyah” doesn’t come from French “bouillon” or “bouillir” but from Walloon “bouyon” or “bouyu”.  But that’s just my opinion !!!!

Check out What’s Cooking America’ favorite Chicken Booyah Recipe.


Chicken Cacciatora:

Cacciatore means “hunter’s style.”  This dish developed in central Italy and has many variations.  It is considered a country-style dish in which chicken pieces are simmered together with tomatoes and mushrooms.

The dish originated in the Renaissance period (1450-1600) when the only people who could afford to enjoy poultry and the sport of hunting were the well-to-do, This dish developed in central Italy and has many variations.


Chicken Divan:

A chicken casserole dish with broccoli and mornay or hollandaise sauce.

1950s – Chicken Divan was the signature dish of a 1950s New York restaurant, the Divan Parisienne.  In English, the word “divan” came to mean sofa, from the council chamber’s benches.  In France it meant a meeting place or great hall.  It was this meaning that attracted the notice of the owners of the New York restaurant as they searched for a name that would imply continental elegance.


Chicken Kiev (kee-EHV):

Also called Tsiplenokovo Po-Kievski.  A boned and flattened chicken breast that is then rolled around a chilled piece of herb butter. It is then breaded and fried.  This poultry dish is also called “Chicken Supreme.”

This famous method of preparing chicken or pheasant is not of Russian origin as the name Kiev would imply.  It was invented by the Frenchman, Nicolas (Francois) Appert (1749-1841), brewer, pickler, confectioner, and chef who discovered the principles of canning and preserving of food.  Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (1741–1762) of Russia preferred French foods and fashions, and by the late 18th century wealthy Russian households were hiring French chefs, or sending their cooks to train in France.  Because of this, French dishes were widely imitated.

Russian cookbooks have recipes for a similar dish called “celettes de volaille,” and not Kiev.  It is generally thought that early New York restaurants trying to please the Russian immigrants gave the name Kiev.  The name went back to Europe and is and was used in many places to describe Chicken Supreme.  After World War II, Chicken Kiev became popular in Russian restaurants.


Chicken Marengo:

Originally made with crayfish and chicken.  Today, the crayfish is usually left out.  Chicken Marengo today is chicken cut into pieces, browned in oil, and then cooked slowly with peeled tomatoes, crushed garlic, parsley, white wine and cognac, seasoned with crushed pepper and served with fried eggs on the side (with or without crayfish, also on the side) and toast or croutons, doubling as Dunand’s army bread.

This dish was cooked for Bonaparte Napoleon’s (French emperor, by his chef, Dunand, after the Battle of Marengo in 1800.  It was at Marengo, situated south of Turin, in the Italian province of Piedmont, that Napoleon defeated the Austrians on June 14, 1800, in a battle which he regarded as the most brilliant of this career.

Napoleon, as was his habit, had not eaten before the battle, and was famished.  He demanded an immediate meal.  Dunand was desperate and searched in the village of Marengo for any available ingredients to make the meal.  What he could find was a combination of chicken and crayfish, tomatoes, eggs, and garlic.  Dunand decorated the dish with “soldiers Biscuits (emergency-ration bread),” today, replaced by toast.  Napoleon found the dish excellent and ordered that it be served after every battle.  Napoleon was highly superstitious and chicken with crayfish was associated in his mind with victory.


Chicken Rochambeau:

This Louisiana Creole dish is half a chicken (breast, leg, and thigh), which is boned and not skinned.  It is grilled, then served as a layered dish – first a slice of baked ham, then the brown Rochambeau sauce (chicken stock and brown sugar), then the chicken is covered with a Brnaise sauce.  Antoine’s restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana is famous for this chicken dish.


Chicken Tetrazzini:

1910 – Said to have been named for the Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini (1871-1941) called “The Florentine Nightingale.”  She was extremely popular in the United States and was a star of the San Francisco Opera.  She also was a long-time resident of San Francisco.  It was a culinary tradition to name new dishes after personalities of the day, and Chefs of the 19th century used to flatter great prima donnas like Luisa Tetrazzini, making them the inspiration and then naming dishes for them.

A few historians, say that master French chef, George Auguste Escoffier, invented this dish, but the dish is not mentioned in Escoffier’s cookbooks and memoirs.  According to Luisa Tetrazzini’s 1921 autobiography, she was unaware of this fact.


Cornell Chicken Barbecue Sauce:

This recipe is by Dr. Robert C. Baker (1921-2006), a former Cornell University poultry science and food science professor who helped develop chicken nuggets, turkey ham, and poultry hot dogs.

In approximately 1946, Baker researched and developed innovative ways to use poultry.  This Cornell Chicken Barbecue Sauce recipe has stood the taste test of time, having been showcased for more than five decades at his Baker’s Chicken Coop at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y.  Baker developed the recipe while working for Pennsylvania State University, but the barbecue sauce he devised was not appreciated until he joined the Cornell faculty with a mandate to promote New York state’s poultry industry.  This recipe is considered a central New York state regional food and if often referred to as “State Fair Chicken.”

In 1999, President Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea, toured the state fair.  There they visited Baker’s Chicken Coop eatery, specifically to savor a taste of the famous Cornell Barbecued Chicken.  As the first family arrived at the barbecue stand, one of Baker’s daughters presented the Clintons with a basket of New York state apples.  “Those apples look good, but where’s the chicken?” the president asked.

Check out What’s Cooking America’s recipes for Cornell Chicken Barbecue Sauce.


Country Captain Chicken:

A curried chicken dish.  The chicken is browned and then stewed in a sauce of tomatoes, onion, garlic, and curry powder.  At the end, golden raisins are added.  The dish is served over rice sprinkled with toasted almonds.  As with all chicken recipes in the South, Country Captain Chicken varies with the cook.  Some recipes call for a long cooking time and other use quick-cooking chicken breasts.  One thing is always certain about this dish; it is perfumed and slightly spiced with curry.

The Hobson Jobson Dictionary states the following:

COUNTRY-CAPTAIN.  This is in Bengal the name of a peculiar dry kind of curry, often served as a breakfast dish. We can only conjecture that it was a favourite dish at the table of the skippers of ‘country ships,’ who were themselves called ‘country captains,’ as in our first quotation.  In Madras the term is applied to a spatchcock dressed with onions and curry stuff, which is probably the original form.  [Riddell says: “Country-captain—Cut a fowl in pieces; shred an onion small and fry it brown in butter; sprinkle the fowl with fine salt and curry powder and fry it brown; then put it into a stewpan with a pint of soup; stew it slowly down to a half and serve it with rice” (Ind. Dom. Econ. 176).]

1792 – “But now, Sir, a Country Captain is not to be known from an ordinary man, or a Christian, by any certain mark whatever.” – Madras Courier, April 26.

c. 1825 – “The local name for their business was the ‘Country Trade,’ the ships were ‘Country Ships,’ and the masters of them ‘Country Captains.’  Some of my readers may recall a dish which was often placed before us when dining on board these vessels at Whampoa, viz. ‘Country Captain.’”—The Fankwae at Canton (1882), p. 33.

1800s -This delicious dish, known throughout Georgia, dates to the early 1800s.  It is thought that this dish was brought to Georgia by a British sea captain who had been stationed in Bengali, India and shared the recipe with some friends in the port city of Savannah, Georgia.  Savannah was then a major shipping port for the spice trade.  The dish was named for the officers in India called “Country Captains.”

1940s – Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United States and General George S. Patton (1885-1945), U.S. Army General, were served this dish in Warm Springs, Georgia, by Mrs. W. L. Bullard.  Their praise and love of this dish helped to rekindle its Southern classic status.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who first gave national recognition to Warm Springs when, in 1924,  he visited the town’s naturally heated mineral springs as treatment for his polio related paralysis.  Roosevelt was so enchanted with Warm Springs that he built the only home he ever owned here – a modest, six room cottage called the Little White House which served as a relaxing, comfortable haven for him.

Check out What’s Cooking America’s favorite Country Captain Chicken Recipe.


General Tso’s Chicken:

Fried boneless dark-meat chicken, served with vegetables and whole dried red peppers in a sweet-spicy sauce.  It’s not authentically Chinese, but it’s nevertheless one of the most popular dishes at Chinese restaurants.  Alternate spellings include General Cho, General Zo, General Zhou, General Jo, and General Tzo.  It is pronounced “Djo,” with the tongue hard against teeth.

This dish is thought to have been the invention of Taiwanese immigrants to the United States in the 1970s and was named after General Zou Zong-Tang (1812-1885), a general of the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty of China.  He was responsible for suppressing Muslim uprisings. His name was used to frighten Muslim children for centuries after his death.



It is a 15- to 16-pound deboned turkey (except for wing bones and drumsticks), a fully hand de-boned duck, and a fully hand de-boned chicken, all rolled into one and stuffed with lots of delicious stuffing (three (3) kinds of stuffing are layered between the three (3) kinds of meat).  This regional delight has become one of the latest food fads.  From the outside it looks like a turkey, but when you cut through it, you see a series of rings making up the three (3) birds and three (2) stuffing.

One possible origin dates back a bit and says the turducken is somewhat derived from the galantine (an 18th century French blend of a de-boned bird stuffed with a mixture of finely ground veal, poultry, fish, vegetables, or fruit with bread crumbs and seasonings).  Since Cajun people originated from French Canada, it could be assumed that the recipe came with them and morphed into today’s version.

The November 2005 issue of National Geographic magazine traced the origins of the dish in the United States to Maurice, Louisiana, and “Hebert’s Specialty Meats.”  Herbert’s has been making turduckens since 1985 when they claim a local farmer (whose name that has since been forgotten) brought in a turkey, a duck, and a chicken, and asked Hebert’s to follow his directions in preparing them.  Herbert’s now sells around 3,300 turduckens a year.  They share a friendly rivalry with famous Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme who claims to have been the first to serve turducken.

Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme says he is the one that developed the recipe for turducken.  In 1986, Paul Proudhomme secured the turducken trademark from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In 1987, The Prudhomme Family Cookbook [1987] shared the recipe with the culinary world:

“Word Mark TURDUCKEN Goods and Services IC 029. US 046. G & S: COMBINATION TURKEY, DUCK AND CHICKEN ENTREE FOR CONSUMPTION ON OR OFF THE PREMISES. FIRST USE: 19801127. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19801127 Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING Serial Number 73576432 Filing Date January 6, 1986 Current Filing Basis 1A Original Filing Basis 1A Published for Opposition June 3, 1986 Registration Number 1406947 Registration Date August 26, 1986 Owner (REGISTRANT) PRUDHOMME, PAUL DBA K-PAUL’S LOUISIANA KITCHEN INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 406 CHARTRES STREET NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA 70130”

Learn all about Turducken and how to cook it: Turducken.



Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices, by George Leonard Herter and Berthe E. Herter, Herter’s Inc., Waseca, Minnesota. 1963 Edition
Chicken A La King, Feeding America, The American Cookbook Project.
Chicken Bouyon (or Booyah), The Wisconsin Gardner, Wisconsin Public Television.
Chicken Marengo, Italian Inspriation.
The Hobson-Jobson Anglo-Indian dictionary: A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive,  COUNTRY-CAPTAIN to COWLE, Bibliomania.
Kander, Simon, Mrs., Papers, 1875-1960.; Milwaukee Manuscript Collection DN, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes, by Patricia Bunning Stevens, Ohio University Press, 1998.
The American Heritage cookbook : and illustrated history of American eating & drinking, by Cleveland Amory, Lucius Morris Beebe, Helen Claire Duprey Bullock & Helen McCully, Publisher: Distribution by Simon and Schuster, American Heritage ; 1964.
The Boston Cooking School Cook Book, by Fannie Merritt Farmer, 1943 Seventh   Revised Edition, Little, Brown & Company, Boston.




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Comments and Reviews

2 Responses to “History of Poultry Dishes”

  1. Merry

    Very informative. However, no Coc au Vin? no Chicken Vindaloo?


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