This is my version of an old southern recipe for smothered chicken. Although simply delicious, it’s one of those recipes that you can only indulge in twice a year or you’ll be sure to be wearing the effects on your hips and quite a few middle parts. But who cares today? It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy…fish are jumpin’ and we’re havin’ a good time…your daddy’s good lookin’ and your mama’s… Always Enjoy!
Oh heck, there I go again…messin’ up those words. Oh well, you’ll have to finish the song the best you can ‘cause I’m headin’ on over to my computer to get the words down for this melt-in-your-mouth chicken recipe that’ll have you messin’ up your words too.
Your Smiling Chef Smothered Chicken (serves 4)
1 frying chicken, washed and cut-up (you know I would rather have all breasts but that just wouldn’t be fair)
1 qt buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, substitute 1 qt whole milk + 4 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice)
all-purpose flour (enough to coat chicken well)
1 cup vegetable oil, more or less depending on the size of your skillet (with lid) for frying
2 tbsp seasoning salt, or to taste (I use Lawry’s)
2 tbsp coarsely ground garlic powder with parsley, or to taste (Lawry’s again)
2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced or chopped
2 ribs celery, washed and thinly sliced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 large can of chicken stock
PLACE your washed chicken pieces in a bowl, cover completely with buttermilk (no seasonings), seal with plastic wrap and marinate overnight.
REMOVE from fridge and place chicken pieces in a colander to drain off excess buttermilk.
PLACE flour and dry seasonings in a Ziploc bag and shake well to thoroughly blend. Set aside.
HEAT a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and add enough vegetable oil to cover at least half of a piece of chicken. (if you don’t have a cast iron skillet with a lid, just use another heavy frying pan with a lid)
PLACE a few chicken pieces at a time into the Ziploc bag (how many pieces will depend on what size bag you’re using), close and shake well to coat chicken pieces entirely. Shake off excess flour and place on a holding plate.
WHEN skillet is hot, place coated chicken pieces into pan and DO NOT cover. (you can test the temperature of your oil by placing a drop of water in the oil and if the drop begins to dance, your pan is ready)
FRY chicken about 5-7 minutes on each side (beginning with skin side down), until it’s nice and brown, turning once. You are not trying to cook the chicken right now; you are only browning it.
REMOVE browned chicken from skillet (but leave skillet on medium heat) and place on your holding plate and set aside. In the meantime, if there is too much oil left in the pan, remove some, but leave about 1/4-inch of oil and the bits of chicken pieces that are stuck to the bottom of your skillet.
ADD onions and celery to the oil and sauté for about 1 minute. Add 3 tbsp of flour to the pan and stir constantly until flour and vegetables are very well browned (the browner the flour, the richer the gravy…but don’t burn it)
ADD about 1-1/2 cups of chicken stock to the pan and stir well. If gravy is too thick, add a little more stock until it’s just taking on the appearance and texture of a thin gravy. You don’t want it too runny because you can’t add flour after the fact and you don’t want it too thick because as it cooks, it will thicken up nicely.
DO NOT add any seasonings at this time.
ADD chicken pieces to gravy mixture and stir around. When it begins to boil, turn heat down to the lowest simmer and cover tightly.
AFTER about 10 minutes, remove lid, turn chicken pieces over and stir gravy around. This will be a good time to taste for flavor since the seasonings from the flour mixture have mixed well with the gravy mixture. Adjust seasonings according to your taste.
COVER again and simmer for about 1 hour to an hour and a half, checking periodically to make sure that pieces aren’t sticking to the bottom of pan. If the gravy is absolutely too thick, just add a little more chicken stock.
WHEN chicken is completely tender and done…turn off heat, leave lid on and allow chicken to rest for about 15 minutes.
SERVE with white fluffy rice or mashed potatoes, vegetable and tossed salad. Yummy!