39. Bettan’s Chicken

I looked up ‘Bettan’s Chicken’ to see why it is named as such or what history there may be. But apparently there is none. I don’t know who the hell Bettan is or why this is his chicken. It sounds vaguely Middle Eastern to me so I imagine that it should be cooked in an earthenware pot like a tagine. You’re totally impressed that I know what a tagine is, right?

Anyway, I considered concocting some sort of imaginary back story for this dish and its inventor Herr Bettan (In my mind he’s suddenly German.) but I spent so much time making the damn cake that I’m done with this one. So here it is, with no origin story or explanation:

#39 Bettan’s Chicken

Well, this is pretty standard casserole fare–chicken, vegetables, and a sour-cream based sauce. Honestly, it looks like a recipe that would be on a Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup label. But, hold your horses! Of course it can’t be that simple–there has to be  something weird or involved.  Yep, there it is, WHIPPING CREAM!

Sometimes I really dislike you, Marjon Promotions, Inc.

FYI, I halved this recipe.

6:05: I began by preheating the oven, boiling the broccoli, and defrosting the chicken.

6:15: The broccoli was cooking and the chicken was browning.

6:22: I began making the Onion Rye Sticks. Of course they didn’t have anything remotely like an Onion Rye stick at the Safeway so I had to make my own. I couldn’t find a recipe in any of my cookbooks or online so I improvised (also, somewhere in here I drained the broccoli). Here is the result:

Emily’s Easy Onion-Rye Rolls

  • 1/2 package onion soup mix (approx 1 oz)
  • 1 package refrigerated French Bread (e.g. Pilsbury)
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • Put everything in a bowl and mix with hands. Roll into balls, sticks, pretzels, etc and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, checking them periodically–who knows what actual temperature my oven decided to be at during this particular baking attempt. I think that an egg wash would work rather nicely on these but it didn’t occur to me at the time.

6:38: The Onion Rye Sticks, although not pretty, went into the oven. I cut the chicken into cubes.

6:44: I combined the sour cream, soup mix, and pan juices. There was very little in the way of pan juices.

6:50: I asked myself, “can you whip half-and-half?” After a few attempts with my handy hand mixer the answer was a definitive NO.  Whatever. I dumped my non-whipped half-and-half into the mixture anyway.

6:56: The assembled casserole is in the oven. I then went about making the salad, which was rather easy: prewashed greens, some canned pineapple, some canned Mandarin oranges, and a simple dressing of white balsamic vinegar, some pineapple juice from the can, and salt and pepper.

7:04: I did a little kitchen cleaning. I do like it when there is a lull so I can get a jump on clean-up.

7:11: I deduced that my rolls were undercooked. But I already took them out. It looked as though the oven was about 15 degrees under what was reading on the thermometer. Damn you, apartment oven. We had been on such a streak of success and then this. Regardless of being a little undercooked, the little Onion Rye Rolls were good. Albeit unattractive.

7:20: I bumped up the oven temperature a bit in the hopes of the Bettan’s Chicken browning ever so slightly.




Let’s just move onto dessert. Almond Cake.

Almonds? Again? How many times have almonds appeared in the series thus far? Hold on while I search–ten times. That’s high, right? I chose to make this an Almond-Apricot cake. It says in the recipe “fill as desired.” It’s Ladies’ Choice, damnit and I choose apricot. What’s with all the goddamned almonds and apricots? Was there a hard push from the almond and apricot growers of America in the 1970s? Like cotton, was the apricot the prunus of our lives?

Easy Almond Sour Cream Layer Cake

By Kittencalskitchen on May 25, 2006


    1. 1 (18 1/4 ounce) packages white cake mix ( do not use the pudding added cake mix)
    2. 2 large eggs
    3. 1 (8 ounce) containers sour cream
    4. 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
    5. 1/2 cup water
    6. 1/3 cup vegetable oil


  1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease four 8-inch round cake pans.
  3. In a bowl beat all ingredients on low speed for about 1 minute, then increase the speed and beat for another 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer and divide the batter between the cake pans.
  5. Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until cakes tests done.
  6. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
  8. Fill as desired.

Anyway, with this recipe I could fill it with whatever I wanted, and I thought that a vanilla filling would be boring, so I used the rest of the jar of apricot preserves that I had from my 30th dinner (if you recall, the intended result was apricot-glazed apple dumplings. I made burnt jam).

Anyway, this is how the cake went down:

OK, this is easy enough. Mixing. Mixing. Check the consistency and taste with my pinkie finger. Shit. This batter is good. And really thick. OK, it’s all mixed. I can lick the beaters. Yum.  What the hell are you looking at, Brian? You get gravy on your face all of the time and I don’t look at you all judgmental-like. Wow, there’s a lot of batter here, more than enough to fill the two cake pans. Crap, are these things going to overflow? So much batter left in the bowl. I can’t let that go to waste. Damnit, no! Don’t get a spatula! God almighty, Emily, stop eating the batter!

There is batter in my hair.

I did have some temperature issues with my temperamental apartment oven, but in the end the cakes baked for a total of 19 minutes (I did the toothpick test). The exteriors were a little overbrowned, but when they came out of the oven they smelled super-good.

To make the jam spreadable, I put it in the microwave to thin

I wasn't as particular with the edging, etc. as I was with the spice cake.

I typically take the leftover desserts to work, but this one we ate at home. Also, that is a floral design in dried apricots.

See, an apricot flower. This image just won't flip for some frickin' reason. Goddamned wordpress.

So, in summation, #39 was a little good and a little bad. I’m glad that the usual suspects (Mandarin oranges, almonds, pineapple, apricots) made another appearance, and I’m happy with how the rolls, salad dressing, and cake turned out.

The chicken was fine with the exception of that half-and-half misstep. The sauce never thickened all the way, so it was all watery on the bottom. This is an instance when a can of soup mixed with the sour cream would’ve made ALL the difference in the world. It would’ve been more like the Stove Top Casserole that I lived off of in graduate school (in addition to nachos and HoJo’s frozen clam strips).

The leftovers that I heated up for lunch weren’t great, either. Because of the texture and the color, I was reminded of a chicken and broccoli Chinese dish, which this was so not.

Because Bettan’s Chicken is Middle Eastern and German. Remember?

To wash this one out of my brain I give you Fort Brian:

Yes, those are Harry Potter bed sheets.

Don’t judge me.

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0 Responses to 39. Bettan’s Chicken

  1. mum says:

    the cake is absolutely beautiful…the chicken doesn’t sound so hot…but the cake!! i am impressed. those harry potter bed sheets have been around for a damn long time.

  2. Erin says:

    The prunus of our lives. I’m still laughing. The cake looked great – I’m all about the dried apricot flower. Again, you prove why you are awesome.

  3. iamsurly says:

    I’m sorry, but your version of the salad isn’t quite as slimy as the original. You’re going to need to try harder.

  4. I love watching you whip up dinners!!!! Great, retro fun indeed!!!!


  5. Pearl says:

    And now I need a Tom Collins and directions back to the present day. LOVED this. Brought me back to my parents’ dinner parties…


  6. Lauren says:

    OK I had to laugh, because “whipping cream” is actually a type of cream. It’s just the cream that will whip into whipped cream if you choose to go that route. I was afraid you were going to tell us you put Reddi Whip in your chicken! 🙂 Anyway, I think the orange-pineapple salad and the cake look pretty darn good. And, yes, apartment ovens SUCK.

  7. Pingback: 117.Othello Cake (Happy 2nd Birthday, Dinner is Served!) | Dinner is Served 1972

  8. I remember my mom collecting recipe cards everytime she filled the car with gas. Bettan’s Chicken was one of those cards. I still have that recipe collection. It was called McCall’s Great American Recipe Card Collection. It was copyrighted in 1973 by the McCall Publishing Co. Just a little info. Delicious!!!! My husband’s favorite.

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