Chicken Mull

Grab your stockpot and serve up a bowlful of this unsung hero among Southern stews.

Like Brunswick Stew, burgoo, or hash and rice, chicken mull is a Southern stew with deep regional roots, and you might not have heard of this simple concoction unless you’re from northeastern Georgia or the Carolinas. It’s said to have been made originally by hunters and farmers who cooked the mixture in a large stockpot, simmering for hours, often over an open flame.

With just two essential ingredients—chicken and crackers—it’s easy to see why this recipe for simple sustenance eventually became a staple for large gatherings and special events, too. The dish consists of finely shredded chicken in a rich broth often thickened by crushed crackers and sometimes milk or cream. Butter and a few other simple seasonings add flavor, and hot sauce, coleslaw, and saltines are common accompaniments. The creamy white or pale-yellow dish isn’t known for winning any beauty contests, but you won’t mind the traditional dish’s humble appearance after you taste the rich, hearty flavor that’s as comforting as it gets.

Chicken Mull
A cozy and comforting recipe like this is good year-round, but we like it best while we anticipate autumn’s arrival.
  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) whole chicken
  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion (½ inch thick)
  • 5 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Saltine crackers, crushed red pepper, and hot sauce, to serve
  1. In a large stockpot, place chicken, onion, garlic, salt, thyme, bay leaves, and white pepper. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part near the bone registers 165°, about 45 minutes.
  2. Remove chicken. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Using hands, shred chicken, discarding skin and bones. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding onion, garlic, and herbs.
  3. In a large clean Dutch oven, add broth and cream, stirring until combined. Add shredded chicken and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Serve with crackers, red pepper, and hot sauce.