I wonder if Vera was a glamorous name in the 1980s in America when this recipe was published? For me, the name Vera always brings to mind Vera Duckworth from Coronation Street, so the name of this recipe is kinda humorous for me…
In a way, it is probably the kind of thing Vera Duckworth might rustle up, thinking it quite a fancy dish. For me, it was a very handy way of using up half a can of mushroom soup left over from Jack Cassidy’s Quickie Green Bean Casserole.
I could of course, have just heated up the mushroom soup in a tiny saucepan and had it for my dinner. But that really would have made me feel like a sad old spinster from a Patrick Hamilton novel
or even worse, a Barbara Pym paperback.
But Chicken a la Vera was, quite frankly, delicious! Takes about 30 seconds to prepare, and then sits happily in the oven for two hours, letting you go off and do something else, brilliant!
My chum Peter Fuller of the Vincent Price Legacy tipped me off to Robert Quarry’s cookbook:
In 2017 the both of us are going to be working on a Vincent Price themed cookbook, with recipes from the great man himself, plus his co-stars.
You heard it here first chums!
I don’t think this is the recipe I’ll choose for Robert, because despite this great review of his cookbook which makes it sound delightfully awful – Self Styled Siren – Cooking With Count Yorga – there are some good looking recipes in there. So expect more from Mr Quarry in 2017!
If you have emailed me about test cooking a recipe for the Columbo cookbook and haven’t had the recipe yet, please bear with me. I am fiddling around with a few to make sure they are as perfect as they can be before I send them. Hopefully will get them all out to you this week. Not too late to volunteer – the more the merrier!
Robert Quarry’s Baked Chicken Vera
1 cut up frying chicken
1 can condensed mushroom soup*
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes
1/4 cup / 5 grams freshly chopped parsley
1 tablespoon paprika
Place chicken pieces in a large casserole dish with butter dotted over. Sprinkle chicken with onion flakes, parsley and paprika. Cover all with mushroom soup. Cover casserole and bake at 275 degrees F / 140 C / gas mark 1 for 2 hours.
I’ve rewritten the method a bit – Robert’s recipe was a tiny bit vague. But it was GOOD!
- We can’t get condensed soup in the UK (something that I find very odd, because it’s a bloody good idea!) so my sauce was probably a bit more runny than Robert’s would have been. Despite my banging on about my dislike of the mushroom in many previous posts, mushroom soup seems to be fine… It’s a texture thing rather than a taste thing I guess…
Barbara Pym (since you mentioned her) seems to have thought that boiled chicken with white sauce was an appropriately high-class dish to be offered to curates by spinsters on the prowl.
I know chickens were expensive in those days, but the idea of boiling one and smothering it with white sauce doesn’t seem particularly enticing to me. But I’m not a curate.
I did try looking for a recipe but had no luck 🙁
Ha ha – I do love that idea, a dish to be offered to curates by spinsters on the prowl! i agree, it doesn’t sound like a particularly enticing dish, but maybe if the white sauce had lots of spicing it could be OK…