The dish known in northeast Georgia as chicken mull is a stew of chicken meat (ground or cut into bite-sized or smaller pieces), broth, milk, butter, vegetables, and seasonings, thickened with crumbs of soda crackers. It is also called chicken stew, chicken soup (rarely), and in south Georgia, chicken jallop. Because grinding, cutting, and lengthy cooking can tenderize tough meat, chicken mull may have originated as a way to make tough old roosters and spent hens palatable.
Mulls are served in bowls and eaten at home, in restaurants, in hunters' camps, and at special events such as church socials, community gatherings, and fund-raisers. Like other regional stews served to large groups (for example, Brunswick stew, Kentucky burgoo, Carolina hash, and Virginia sheep stew), mull can be prepared in large pots, outdoors or under a shed.
Mull is traditionally a cold-weather dish. Northeast Georgians speak of the "mull season." According to local lore, almost any meat or combination can be used, including goat, dove, squirrel, and it is rumored, rat and roadkill. In rabbit mull or crow stew, rabbit or crow replaces chicken. Turtle mull contains chicken as well as turtle and sometimes such additional meats as beef, pork, and even beaver. Jallop is sometimes made from catfish.
To make chicken mull, pieces of chicken are simmered in water in a kettle or Dutch oven about one hour, until done. When the pieces are cool, the skin and bones are removed and the meat is ground or cut, then restored to the broth. Milk and butter are added and cracker crumbs are stirred in until the desired thickness is achieved. The consistency varies, but typically mull is similar to cooked oatmeal.
Other ingredients may include baking soda; such vegetables as celery, onion, tomato sauce or paste, tomatoes, ketchup, lemon, and garlic; and such seasonings as salt, red and black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, and hot pepper sauce. Traditional side dishes include sweet pickles; onion rings, cucumbers, and tomatoes marinated in vinegar; slaw or salad; and green beans. Chicken jallop is sometimes served over hamburger buns.
Charles C. Doyle, "Mulling over Mull: A North Georgia Foodways Localism," Midwestern Folklore 29 (2003): 5-11.
John Garst, University of Georgia
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