Sometimes you just see a dish and it calls out to be made. Usually it’s only one or two of the ingredients that make your mouth water, and you think, yum. For me with this one it was all of them: chicken, cream, bacon and bananas … yes, you read that correctly, chicken, cream, bacon and bananas (plus salted peanuts) all in one dish. While this may sound like an early April fool’s joke, it isn’t. And while they aren’t serving this (yet) in the IKEA food court, this crowd-pleaser is as Swedish as they come. I give you Flygande Jacob, or Flying Jacob.
I was reading the A.V club‘s food blog when this jumped out at me:
The recipe for Flying Jacob reads like a stoned dad’s trip to the bodega. It starts with rotisserie chicken, heavy cream and bananas baked together, then it’s all topped with fried bacon and peanuts, like a casserole mated with Elvis’ favorite sandwich.
Right away I was thinking when could I prepare it and how could I explain it to my wife so she would try it, since it does sound a bit crazy.
Mailed to a Swedish food magazine in the mid-1970s by an air freight worker named Jacobsson, it was his concoction for a casserole that was “easy to make and tasted great”. Well, they had me at bananas and bacon, but easy and tasty sealed the deal. A few tweaks here and there, chili sauce was out since no one but me like anything spicy, and I landed a dinner that was a huge family hit, even with my wife who thought there was something wrong with me when I detailed what was in it. Give it a try.
- 3 large chicken breasts (or meat from one roasted chicken)
- 100-150g bacon
- 1 finely chopped onion
- ½ chicken bouillon cube
- 500ml cream
- 500ml milk (not low-fat)
- 2 heaping spoonfuls of cornstarch (optional for thickening), mixed in with a spoonful of water
- 3-4 bananas (split lengthwise)
- Salted, roast peanuts.
- 1 spoonful Italian seasoning
- 200ml chili sauce (or catsup, or catsup-BBQ sauce mix)
- Preheat oven to 220C. Cut chicken to thumb-sized pieces or remove meat and shred from roasted chicken.
- In large skillet brown the bacon. When finished remove to paper towels and remove all but 1 spoonful of grease. Do not remove browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low and add chopped onion, scraping up the crusty bits of bacon from bottom of pan. Cook 2-3 minutes, lowering heat if onions start to burn.
- Add chicken pieces to skillet and brown evenly. About 5 minutes a side. Once browned sprinkle with ½ of the bouillon cube.
- Lower heat, add cream and gently stir. When cream starts to bubble and thicken around the edges, add the milk. Add chili sauce or generous squeeze or two of catsup (can be done to taste). Add the spoonful of Italian seasoning (I just used oregano). After a minute or two if it’s bubbling but hasn’t thickened, add the cornstarch. It should thicken with a bit more heat.
- Transfer to casserole dish for baking. Top with sliced bananas and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and top with crumbled bacon bits and sprinkling of peanuts.
- Serve with rice or pasta.