What dish has chicken, bananas, cream, chili sauce, bacon and peanuts? Ask any Swedish kid I’ve met, and they’ll say, “Flygande Jacob” or Flying Jacob in English. They’ll also say they like it, well except for one person I know of. And, guess what, adults do too!
Now wait, before you go and click the delete button, come in and have a look. This one is special because I’m writing it so our grandkids can stand on a stool at the stove, with mom’s notebook open and cook this very easy to make dish step-by-step. We’ll also dive briefly into where this unusual dish originated.
Jump to Recipe
My introduction to “Flygande Jacob” or Flying Jacob came during one of my early visits to Sweden some 15 years ago. During this visit I met Mr. Flying Jacob. It was at Eva’s sister’s home and she asked, “Have you ever heard of Flygande Jacob”? I of course said no. She went on to list the ingredients to me at which time my first response was likely the same as your, YUCK. But she assured me it was worthy of experiencing. She went on to explain that although all Swedish kids (well almost all) love the dish that it was first served to adults. Well she wore me down, fixed it that night and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.
The dish was conceived by one Ove Jacobsson back in 1976. You can see an image of Ove attending his retirement party December 14th, 2015 on Swedish Taste – Stockholm Facebook page here. Now, like my last post “A Swedish Meatball’s Journey”, this story is unconfirmed, and some might even say dubious. But the facts we’re about to share, hold at a minimum a core of truth. We tried to reach-out to Ove, but had luck. It seems he wishes to enjoy his retirement in peace and quiet.
As the story goes, Ove who worked in the air freight business was early into his career and living in the suburbs. Now back in 1976, it was quite the vogue to have neighborhood potlucks. At least it was in Sweden. He was tasked to cook a main course dish that night and had look around the kitchen and saw bananas and peanuts. looked in the fridge and saw cream, bacon as well as the chicken leftovers from the night before. Perhaps he remembers another Swedish dish where you whip heavy cream and fold in Heinz Chili Sauce. Bingo he tossed it together and took to the potluck. It was a smash and everyone wanted the recipe. His neighbor Anders Tunberg worked at Allt om Mat (All about Food) magazine and encouraged him to publish the recipe in Allt om Mat the same year.
Well my friends, “the rest, as they say, is history”. Flying Jacob took off like crazy (the 70’s was a fun and crazy time). So, by now it’s fair to say that in Sweden everyone has heard of Flying Jacob and most have enjoyed or still enjoying this unique dish. If you go to Mr. Google (as a dear friend calls it) and search Flygande Jacob recept, you’ll see many variations as well as Jacob also spelled Jakob. As Ove’s last name is Jacobsson, I’m going with the Jacob spelling.
So enough with the history, Flying Jakob is truly a simple dish to make. In the next few minutes you’ll also be an expert at making Flygande Jacob. You can also skip the step-by-step instructions below and just Jump to Recipe.
Let’s make a batch of Flygande Jacob
So, grab your kids, grandkids or yourself and let’s get this going. A reminder, I’m writing this for my grandchildren, so if the language seems a bit simple and over detailed, that’s why. To me they’re two very important key ingredients in this dish bananas and bacon. As for the chicken, you can use either precooked leftovers or the boneless cut of choice (thighs here, Chloe get the white meat). In a hurry, grab a precooked rotisserie chicken at your local market or deli. In any event, you should end up with 3-4 cups of cooked boneless chicken. The image doesn’t show it, but you also need to have rice. You can use any non-flavored rice you like. It can be white or brown parboiled are pre-made in nuked, just so you have cooked warm rice to serve with it. Here it’s also customary to serve it with a salad. A quick disclaimer, the images show a cook for 4 and the recipe will be for 8. Just adjust the servings in the recipe and the ingredients will change. However, the metric equivalents will not. If you precook you own chicken, season it with something like this McCormick Italian Herb Seasoning. If you use precooked, you can season the chicken after it’s prepped and in the baking pan (before the cream mix). My favorite method is to mix a batch of Knorr Italian Salad mix and marinate my thighs for a few hours. Then I toss them on a lined baking sheet and bake at 325°F (160°C) for about 25 minutes.
KCT (Kid Cooking Tip): Get out the bowl (not plastic) and whipping blades for your mixer and stick them in the freezer. I know, your laughing. Think I’m of my top, do you? Well you’re doing this so they are real cold when we get to the cream whipping.
Before we get going, it’s time to ask mom or dad to warm up the oven or ugn (sounds like oungn) as we call it here. Funny name for an oven, sounds like what a hobbit would use to cook with. Tell them to set it at either 425°F, 225°C or oven mark 7.
First, let’s get prepped up and ready to go. Come on kiddos grab your bacon, scissors and a frying pan. We’re going to prep and fry up some bacon. My (and Chloe’s) favorite part.
KCT (Kid Cooking Tip), Always ask mom or dad to help with this and be sure and remind them to buy extra bacon. You’re surely going to snack on a few pieces, but be sure you leave enough for the meal.
With clean hands, take the kitchen shears (scissors) and cut your raw bacon into four pieces like I’m doing above. Next, pull the slices of bacon apart to make individual pieces. Like in the lower left image. Wash your hands as they have raw bacon on them. Now, with mom or dad’s help, fry the bacon crisp. After frying drain on paper towels. No more snitching, you’ll need the rest for the recipe.
KCT: You can also cook the bacon in whole pieces and then break it in pieces after it’s fried and cooled. Also, mom or dad might want to bake the bacon in the oven or microwave.
Wash your hands, I’m sure they have bacon grease on them. Now, peel your bananas. Make sure mom or dad is there to help you. Repeat, make sure mom or dad is there to help you. Using the knife cut the banana in half like I did in the picture above (left). Next, cut long ways, like you see in the top right picture. For each banana you should have four pieces. Place the bananas in a bowl and save them for later
KCT: Make sure you ask mom or dad to cook or buy more chicken than the recipe calls for, cause you’re going snitch some while your prepping. I always do.
It’s time to prep the cooked chicken. Wash your hand, you have banana goop all over them. You’ll need a sharp knife, so be sure mom or dad is there with you. Repeat, make sure mom or dad is there to help you. Above you can see about what size to cut the chicken. You can also just shred or pull apart the chicken if that sounds like more fun (and safer). Wash your hands, you have chicken all over them and letting the dog lick your hands clean does not count as washing.
KCT: Now is an appropriate time to remind mom or dad that the rice needs to be rinsed and put on to cook.
Whipped Cream Prep
Now, let the fun begin. Kids you can’t do this one on your own, you’ll need mom or dads help. Do you remember the bowl and whipping blades we but in the freezer? It’s time to get them out along with the cold whipped heavy cream. Pour the measured cream into the chilled bowl. Place the chilled blades on the mixer. Get mom or dad to get the mixer going on medium speed and as temping as it is, don’t pull the blades out of the cream while the mixer is running. I would be very ugly, and mom and dad might be angry. Continue to mix the cream with the mixer at a slight angle, like shown in the bottom left picture above. This helps add air and whip that cream. Continue to mix until the cream has thickened, and it make little waves and peaks, like in the above picture in the lower right. This is important, don’t keep mixing or you’ll end up with butter not whipped cream. Once done, set to the side and go to the next step. Wash your hands! Hopefully, you listened to my advice about removing the blades while mixing. If you didn’t, I suspect you’ll need to shower.
KCT: As tempting as it might seem, don’t use canned whip cream (Reddiwip) or Cool Whip. They will collapse and make a messy dish of this. Besides making homemade whipped cream is fun and only takes about 5 minutes.
Folding in the Heinz Chili Sauce
OK, all showered (just kidding) and ready to fold in the Heinz Chili Sauce. Tell mom and dad they can find it with the ketchup (tomato sauce) at the market. But, it’s not ketchup, it has a different taste. It looks like the bottle below.
Now take that lovely whipped cream you made and pour the measured Chili Sauce (top right) on top. Now this is the important part, as you want to use a spatula and just gently fold in the chili sauce. Don’t beat or stir fast or your nice whipped cream will flatten. When your finished folding, the mix should have a pinkish color. Kind of like cotton candy.
Assembling the Fly Jacob
With hands washed, using your fingers (the fun way) or spoon, rake out the chopped or shredded chicken into the ovenproof dish mom or dad got for you. Next you’ll want to sprinkle on the Italian Herb Seasoning over the chicken (if using). Once you have the chicken placed evenly on the bottom and seasoned, place the bananas on top of the chicken with the cut side down. If you have any leftover bananas, give a little piece to the doggy (Chloe loves bananas) and have a bite for yourself. Don’t forget to share with your sister or brother.
OK kiddos, this is the last step prior to popping Mr. Flying Jacobs in the preheated oven for baking. Now there’s the correct way to do this and the messy way. Either way, wash those hands. The correct way is to use a spatula (blue thing in the lower left picture) and spread the cream and chili sauce mixture evenly over the bananas like the picture shows. Now for the messy way, just gently grab a handful of the mixture and smear it all over the bananas until it nice and covered. No whipped cream fights, OK.
It should be prepared like the picture in lower right (above). Mr. Flying Jacob is dressed and ready to be popped in the ugn (sounds like oungn), oven or hob. You’ll need help getting it in the oven. Tell mom or dad the baking dish should be on the middle rack in the oven. Once the door is shut you can either watch through the oven door until the Flying Jacobs is browned or set a timer for 12 minutes. If you set the timer, which is my recommendation (looking through an oven door for 15 minutes can get boring) you can now give move or dad help setting the table, finish the rice or make a salad. Ding, ding the timer is done. Have mom or dad peak in the ugn (oven) and see if the top is browned and bubbly. It will likely need a couple of more minutes in the oven. Don’t let it burn though. If mom or dad wishes to stick an instant read thermometer to check, it should read at least 165°F (74°C). If it’s very brown, but not to 165°F (74°C), then cover the cooking dish with aluminum foil and put back in the oven for a few minutes. When done, it should look like the dish below.
Once your masterpiece is cooked, cool it on a rack for about ten minutes. Scatter about half your cooked bacon on top and toss on the peanuts. We don’t put the peanuts anywhere near the Flying Jacob because of Grandma Eva’s nut allergy. Serve it over the cooked rice along with green peas (or not) and salad. Enjoy kiddos.
Chloe says: “It’s no fun being lactose intolerant. All I got was a bit of banana a few nuts and a piece of chicken”.
This recipe has been tasted and approved for consumption for kids, adults and dogs without lactose issues. Chloe scores this one with a 3-paw rating. She’d have given it five paws if mom would have let her taste it. 🐾🐾🐾
Hope you enjoyed this post and give Flying Jacob a try. As always, your comments and shares are greatly appreciated. You can comment or share just below the recipe. Thanks!
Flygande Jacob, Every Swedish Child’s Delight
What dish has chicken, bananas, cream, chili sauce, bacon and peanuts? “Flygande Jacob” or Flying Jacob in English. Kids in Sweden love this quintessential '70 dish! And, guess what, adults do too!
- 6 cups (14.5dl) Chicken cut of choice (note 1), cooked, boned and cubed
- 2 cups (5dl) Heavy whipping 36% cream, chilled.
- 4-5 large Bananas.
- 10 oz. (280g) Thin sliced bacon.
- 1 cup (2.5dl) Chili Sauce, see note 2.
- 1 tbsp (1 msk) Italian herb mix or herb mix of choice.
- 3/4 cup Roasted and salted peanuts, preferably not dry roasted.
- 8-10 portions cooked rice, of your preferance.
- 8 portions cooked green peas, frozen are fine.
- Salad of choice.
Preheat oven to 425°F, 225°C or oven mark 7. See note 3.
Prep bacon by cutting each slice into four equal pieces. Fry crisp, drain and reserve for later use.
Whip heavy (36% cream) until it hold a peak.
Gently fold in you 3/4 of your chili sauce. Be careful not to knock down your cream. Taster the mix. Now you can adjust by adding additional sauce. We prefer the full amount.
Using a baking pan 13"x9" (22x35cm) or equivalent size oval baking dish, place the chopped or shredded chicken in the bottom. Next, sprinkle the Italian Herb Seasoning over the chicken (if using). See note 4.
Peel and cut the banana in half. Next, cut the half long ways. For each banana you should have four pieces. Place the four bananas on top of the chicken with the cut side down. Repeat until all of the chicken is covered.
using a spatula spread the cream and chili sauce mixture evenly over the bananas and to all sides of your baking dish.
Place dish in the center rack of your oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. As an option, you can remove the dish from the oven after it gets lightly brown and scatter the peanuts on top then finish baking. See note 5.
Once the cream mixture (top) is golden brown, remove the dish and check internal temperature. It should read at least 165°F (74°C). If it's very brown, but not to 165°F (74°C) cover the cooking dish with aluminum foil and bake for a few minutes. Place Flying Jacob on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes to cool.
Prior to serving, scatter about half of the bacon pieces on top of the Flying Jacob. Serve with nuts on the side or if preferred, on top of the dish.
Serve with your cooked rice and vegetable and salad of choice.
- Chicken is to be cooked, boned and cubed or shredded. It can be a combination of dark and white (the dish is much moister using only dark meat). You can also use precooked deli or rotisserie chicken. Fresh is better and thighs make the best dish. See below for chicken weight to cup equivalents.
- We prefer Heinz Chili Sauce, but any will work. You can use ketchup in a pinch, but Chili sauce is a better match.
- You'll need to cook your rice to be ready with the flying Jacob. I rinse the rice and start cooking about 5 minutes prior to putting the dish in the oven. Cooking and cooling time for the dish is around 30 minutes.
- Feel free to use the pan or pans of choice. I've used a 9"x9" and piled the cream on (a bit messy) and also Emile Henry 12 and 14" oval baker.
- Keep in mind the all ovens are different, so the time may vary. When baking with ceramic dishes the cooking time will be longer. Just watch that you don't let it get burnt on top.
2 pounds (900g) of boneless chicken is equivalent to 6 cups of cubed meat
2- 3 1/2 (1.5 kg) pound whole rotisserie chicken is equivalent to about 6 cups of cubed meat
2 pounds (900g) of shredded chicken will be about 7 1/2 cups shredded chicken (loosely packed)
For a curry Flying Jacob add 1-2 teaspoon (1-2 tsk) of curry powder to the chili sauce and mix prior to folding.