One chicken, one pot.


From the Revised Rumford Complete Cookbook by Lily Haxworth Wallace (1939).

What Chicken a la Providence has to do with Rhode Island's capital city, we honestly have no idea, but looking over the recipes below you can see that preparation of the dish has remained virtually unchanged over the last century.

Chicken a la Providence

Since the 1920s, home cooks have been making Chicken a la Providence, an old-fashioned homey serving of chicken and vegetables in a rich sauce. Back then it was a gourmet dish. Today it's pure comfort food.

  • 1 whole chicken (about four pounds), cleaned
  • 8 cups of boiling water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (from the cooked chicken)
  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup of cooked sliced carrots
  • ½ cup of cooked peas
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley

In a large stockpot filled with the boiling water, simmer the chicken gently on low heat until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the cooked chicken from the pot and set aside. Measure two cups of broth from the pot.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and blend smoothly. Add the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Cook for five minutes.

Pour about one half cup of the sauce into the egg yolks, mixing well to prevent lumps, and then add the eggs to the remainder of the sauce. Stir in the carrots and peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut the chicken into serving-size pieces and arrange on a platter. Top with the sauce and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.

Makes four servings.

—From The Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook (2006) by freelance food writer and restaurant publicist Linda Beaulieu. Used with permission.

Chicken a la Providence

  • 1 chicken
  • Seasoning
  • 2 level tablespoons of butter
  • 2 level tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of stock
  • ½ cup of cooked carrot
  • ½ cup of cooked peas
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley

Boil the chicken gently until tender, seasoning while cooking; cut into pieces convenient for serving and set aside while the sauce is being prepared.

Sauce
Melt the butter, add flour, and blend smoothly; add the stock (the liquor in which the chicken was cooked) and stir until boiling. Cook five minutes, put in the carrots and peas, also the egg yolks and seasoning. Pour over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

—From the 1939 printing of The Revised Rumford Complete Cookbook by Lily Haxworth Wallace.

Chicken a la Providence

Prepare and boil a chicken, following the recipe for Boiled Fowl [see below]. The liquor should be reduced to two cups, and used for making sauce, with two tablespoons each of butter and flour cooked together. Add to the sauce one-half cup each of cooked carrots (cut in fancy shapes) and green peas, one tablespoon of lemon juice, two egg yolks, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken on a hot platter, surround with sauce, and sprinkle the chicken and sauce with one-half tablespoon of finely chopped parsley.

Boiled Fowl
Dress, clean, and truss a four-pound fowl, tie in cheese-cloth, place on a trivet in a kettle, half surround with boiling water, cover, and cook slowly until tender, turning occasionally. Add salt the last hour of cooking. Serve with Egg, Oyster, or Celery Sauce. It is not desirable to stuff a boiled fowl.

—From the 1918 printing of The Boston Cooking School Cookbook by Fannie Merritt Farmer.

This article last edited February 1, 2008

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