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Vivian Howard: Scarlett's Chicken and Rice Vivian Howard: Scarlett's Chicken and Rice

Vivian Howard: Scarlett's Chicken and Rice

It's always the simple family recipes that bring us the most comfort. This recipe for chicken and rice is an homage to Vivian Howard's mother and is featured in her book Deep Run Roots, we can attest that it tastes like a hug in a bowl. Inspired by Scarlett's name, we topped ours with 1 tsp Spicewalla Pink Peppercorns that we toasted in a pan on the stove over medium-high heat for a few minutes until fragrant and then hand crushed in a mortar and pestle. 

Also called a "bog" in parts of the South, chicken and rice was a stand-alone meal at my house. Nowadays, I like to serve it with a bright salad of Romaine, thinly sliced celery, herbs like parsley and chives, and a mustard vinaigrette. Mom is fine with it.

Note: Today most people make this with a young chicken from the store. If you were to run across a laying hen past her egg-dropping prime, beg for her and make a pot of chicken and rice. That hen will take up to four hours to “cook to pieces,” but the broth she’ll offer up will be well worth the time.


1 large chicken and its neck left whole, gizzards removed
3 quarts cool water, or just enough to cover the bird
1 1⁄2 to 2 Tbs salt
40 to 60 grinds of the pepper mill, or 2 to 3 teaspoons black pepper
2 cups white rice
2 tablespoons lemon juice

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  1. Put your bird breast up in a 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Cover the bird, just barely, with cool water. Add the salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Cover and bring it all up to a simmer. Cook for about an hour or until the bird is, in my mom’s words, “falling to pieces.”
  2. If you’re working with a typical young chicken this should not take any longer than an hour and a half. If it is a laying hen, it could take up to 5 hours. I know that sounds crazy, but a hen will provide a much better broth.
  3. Once the bird is falling to pieces turn off the heat and let it rest in the broth for 30 minutes.
  4. Take the chicken out of the broth and tear the meat into medium pieces. Discard the skin and bones. Put the meat back into the pot. Bring the broth and the chicken up to a simmer. Add the rice. If you are a rice rinser, resist the urge here, as the starch helps make the broth homey and rich. Cook the rice for about 12 minutes; depending on the variety or brand, the time may vary. The rice should be just cooked through and should absolutely hold its shape. Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and the remaining teaspoon black pepper if you wish.

From Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard. Copyright 2016. (Little, Brown and Company)

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  • Hi Renee!
    We Love Vivian Howard as well! always a win in the kitchen!
    Love your suggestions as well, cooking is so much fun because you can be incredibly creative and you don’t need to follow the recipe exactly.

    Spicewalla Fam on
  • I love the simplicity of this dish. The addition of sausage, as some swear by, is not necessary at all. Pepper is a necessity to chicken bog. I add aromatics to my chicken when I cook it, but otherwise, it is the same. I love the thought of lemon in this recipe!
    Vivian Howard never disappoints!

    Renee Bock on

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