Friday, November 10, 2017

Smoked Chicken Carbonara

My supermarket seems to have undergone a personality transplant over the past year or two. First it was in the exotic vegetables and fruits, and you’ve seen some recipes for those here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen.

Then the imported foods and spices began to creep across their shelves until they’d doubled in number. Lots of interesting stuff there! I spend a lot of time in that section just reading the labels.

Now the store moved on to expanding its meat selection. I was minding my own business (actually I was looking for duck breasts, but there are seldom many of those), and somehow I stumbled upon smoked chicken parts. I never knew they existed commercially, so of course I grabbed a package and went recipe-hunting. There were plenty, but they ranged all over the place in ingredients and complexity, and I wanted something simple to showcase the flavor of the smoked chicken. So I kind of improvised a carbonara.

No doubt you’ve seen carbonara (that’s Italian and it sort of refers to a charcoal pit). It’s a quick and easy recipe that generally combines spaghetti, cheese, various meats and eggs. Here’s my smoked chicken version.

The chicken as packaged was already cooked, so all I had to do was shred it.

Smoked Chicken Carbonara


1 Tblsp olive oil
2 oz. pancetta (if your store doesn’t happen to have pancetta, you can use two strips of bacon, as long as it’s not too salty)
1 Tblsp minced garlic
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley (Italian if you have it), chopped
3/4 lb. spaghetti
2 cups shredded smoked chicken (two breasts made enough)
Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta (or bacon) and garlic and cook until they are brown and slightly crisp.

In a bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, egg yolks and herbs.

Make your spaghetti as you usually would.

Add the smoked chicken to the pan with the pancetta and garlic and stir to cover the chicken pieces. Then add the spaghetti and mix. 

Finally, add the cream mixture and toss over low heat until the chicken is heated through and the sauce coats the spaghetti (just a few minutes). Taste the sauce and season if necessary.

And there you have it! 

(By the way, our cat Dexter decided he likes smoked chicken.)

On shelves now! (In case I didn't mention it often enough.) A Late Frost--the eleventh Orchard Mystery!

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and lots of bookstores (I hope)!


  1. Great idea, Sheila! I must try that if I can find smoked chicken. Of course, we have a smoker, so maybe that's the ticket. Hugs.

  2. I've seen smoked turkey, but not in the grocery store. Smoked chicken is a great idea.
    This looks and sound delicious.
    I often use condensed milk in place of cream in recipes like this to reduce the fat level without losing the mouth feel.

  3. That looks good! I haven't checked lately to see what's available in the meat dept that's new.