Jon’s $50,000 Chicken

Last week, long-time Wheeler county resident Jon Bowerman invited me to his house for lunch. He wanted to show me how to make one of his favorite recipes, $50,000 chicken. FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, wow, that’s expensive! It must be really good.

When I arrived, the first thing I noticed as I stepped into the kitchen was his beautiful chrome and black woodstove adorned with many hanging cast iron pots and pans. The dark wooden table in the kitchen was set with pretty blue dishes and wine goblets. I suddenly felt like a school girl who was playing hooky for the day, taking time off in the middle of the week to just relax and have fun.

I was thrilled to know that the recipe had only four ingredients and no pots and pans or dishes to wash. That’s an “un-recipe” – just a list of ingredients and steps. There is no need for exact measurements; just use your senses to get it right.

Here is what you need:  

Skinned chicken breasts or tenders
Thousand Island dressing
Swiss cheese

Preheat the oven to 350⁰. Oil the bottom of a baking dish. If you use chicken breasts, cut them lengthwise into pieces about half an inch thick and layer them in the dish. Next, make a layer of the sauerkraut followed by a layer of Thousand Island dressing. Pop the pan into the oven. We kinda’ lost track of the time but it probably took about 45 minutes until the kitchen was filled with a lovely aroma and little bubbles were popping away around the edges of the pan. Jon pulled the pan out of the oven and covered the entire top with Swiss cheese and slid it back into the oven until the cheese had melted. When he finally took the pan out of the oven, my mouth was watering and I felt like a racehorse chomping at the bit. Buttered, toasted breadcrumbs sprinkled on top would be a crunchy addition.

Jon put the pan on the table and we served it up. I made my favorite cauliflower dish (I will write about it sometime) and Jon made a salad with romaine lettuce, palm hearts, and homemade vinaigrette. Can you believe this? The chicken was so good that I ate four helpings! I am not kidding! All the while I thought about what a special treat it is to receive an invitation to a friend’s home for lunch or dinner. Being “at table” with friends and family is one of my very favorite things to do in life. Sitting down to a beautifully set table and eating delicious homemade food is one of life’s greatest and simplest pleasures. That’s definitely worth at least $50,000!
How to Eat