Food Discovery: Smothered Chicken

smotheredchicken

We had a guest picker this week. The Hero’s cousin was down and since The Hero has an 0-2 record on picking good recipes, I decided to have someone else pick the recipe this week. When we started with LaBelle Cuisine, I knew it couldn’t be too bad.

Boy was I wrong. His pick was worse than The Hero’s. The original recipe included a bottle of ketchup. I hate ketchup. It’s on the list of things I won’t eat. So back to The Hero I went for this week’s recipe. He did good. It wasn’t without a lot of laughing at me and demanding that I tell the people I cheated. I cheated. There.

N.E.Way… I used to faithfully make dishes from Patti’s cookbook. Then, for some reason, I just kinda fell off. It’s one of the first cookbooks I bought when I felt like it was time to take my cooking to the next level. Although I grew up having soul food pretty regularly, believe it or not, I can’t cook it all that well. In my younger years, I was more focused on eating, not cooking all the dishes I ate. No one made me learn either which explains why I still can’t make a good pot of greens to this day. Or candied yams. Or ham. I’d go on, but you’re probably already giving me the side eye and wanting to take my black card.

Smothered anything was rare. Kinda like liver and onions. I guess not really because we didn’t look forward to liver and onions, but we did look forward to smothered pork chops and chicken with mashed potatoes. I now see why my mom didn’t cook it often. It’s a process.

Cooking Notes

First off, double the gravy recipe if you’re putting gravy on anything other than the chicken. Maybe even triple if you’re a gravy-eating family of three or more. After we ate, there was literally no gravy left. We had to ration it.

Also, season the gravy as you go, not all at the end. It gives the spices time to heat up and blossom, which makes dinner hit the table faster. It also prevents some of the extra salt at the table. If you’re watching your blood pressure, you’re welcome.

Save time and get the chicken cut. I botched the cut job some and it was a lot of time wasted. Have the meat counter cut it for you so you can make your own chicken stock with the breast bone and vegetable scraps. I’m a fan of homemade stock.

Which is of course the last note. Just make your own stock. I bought some low-sodium stuff that tasted like laziness and big business. Sigh. It doesn’t pay to cut corners when it comes to flavor. Lesson learned, food gods.

I omitted the celery in the gravy. We were having dressing. I didn’t want celery overload.

Smothered Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken, rinsed and cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth

Directions

Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Add the flour to a large shallow bowl. Reserve 3 tablespoons in a small bowl for the gravy. Coat the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Place on a rack to rest.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once heated, kip the chicken a second time in the remaining flour. Cook, turning halfway, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Discard all but about 3 tablespoons of oil. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, celery (if using), and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the reserved flour over the vegetables and stir well. Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a simmer. Season almost to taste with salt and pepper.

Return the chicken to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. If necessary, season with salt and pepper. Add chicken back to the skillet. Serve immediately.

from LaBelle Cuisine

Verdict

We found a winner! Despite not having enough gravy, this dish is delicious. It’s comfort food at its finest. Unlike my mother, I will probably make this at least once a month. Is there a such thing as smothered chicken tenders? If not, I’m inventing it. It goes really well with dressing and macaroni and cheese to complete the food coma. I’m sure it tastes good with salad too, but why disrespect perfectly good comfort food like that?

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