Hawaiian Haystacks

Like everyone in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down.  Our son, who was serving a proselyting mission for our church in Melbourne, Australia was just sent home - 21 months early.  We now have to go on a strict 2 week quarantine, even stricter than the one we've already been on.  We will all work and do school exclusively from home and won't leave the house again until we know that it's safe to do so. 

Two of our three college aged girls came home to quarantine with us while our oldest daughter has opted to stay away as she still has to work every day and doesn't want to put any of her roommates at risk.  With three of our four grown children home, we are spending a lot of quality time together and I've been back in mom mode, finally cooking again and pulling out old recipes.  I'm gravitating to those old comfort food classics my kids loved when they were growing up. 

Hawaiian Haystacks were a special occasion favorite, something my kids asked for on birthdays or holiday weekends.  Everyone can individualize their haystack with favorite toppings and the leftovers taste even better the next day.  The savory chicken gravy recipe I use was shared by one of my best friends, Kristie, who always threw some onions, carrots and celery with the chicken in the crock pot as it cooked and then mashed some of the softened veggies to throw in with the gravy for an added flavor boost.  If you've never made your gravy this way, you have to try it!  Here is the recipe:

Hawaiian Haystacks
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 stalk of celery, chopped
4-5 baby carrots (or 1 carrot, peeled and chopped)
1/2 onion, sliced
2-3 pats of butter

2 small cans Campbells Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. powdered chicken bullion
Drippings from the chicken

In a crockpot, place all the chopped celery, carrots and onion.  Place chicken on top.  Place small pats of butter on each breast.  Salt and pepper the meat generously.  Place lid on crockpot and cook on low for 3 hours until chicken is tender and falls apart.  Remove chicken and shred on a plate.  Strain the juices and reserve.  Place cooked, softened veggies in a bowl.  Remove some (not all) of the veggies and mash well.

To the now empty crockpot, add the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, salt, and chicken bullion.  Thin the sauce with the drippings from the chicken.  Add a little at a time to reach desired consistency.  If you don't have enough drippings, you can use chicken broth to thin the sauce.  Stir chicken and smashed veggies back in and stir.  Continue to cook in crock pot for an additional hour or until gravy is hot and bubbly.

Serve over rice with any of these desired toppings:

Shredded cheddar cheese
Crunchy chow mein noodles
Chopped tomato
Chopped red and green pepper
Chopped green onions
Chopped celery
Slivered almonds
Shredded coconut
Chopped pineapple chunks