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Creamy Southern Smothered Chicken

Creamy Southern Smothered Chicken: A Comforting Classic

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Indulge in the heartwarming flavors of the South with our Creamy Southern Smothered Chicken recipe. This soul-satisfying dish features tender chicken thighs smothered in a rich and creamy sauce, infused with the savory goodness of cheddar cheese, aromatic herbs, and a hint of spice. Served over a bed of fluffy rice, this comforting meal is sure to become a family favorite. Join us as we delve into the art of creating this Southern classic and discover why it’s loved by all who taste it.

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Ingredients:

  • 6-8 chicken thighs (boneless, preferred)
  • 2 (10.75 oz.) cans condensed cream of cheddar soup
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of herbed chicken
  • 3 cups cooked white or brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Bacon bits, garnish, optional

Instructions:

Preparing Creamy Southern Smothered Chicken:

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Season Chicken: Season chicken thighs generously with salt, pepper, paprika, and onion powder. Arrange seasoned chicken thighs in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Prepare Sauce: In a mixing bowl, combine condensed cream of cheddar soup, condensed cream of herbed chicken soup, milk, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. Mix until well combined.
  4. Pour Sauce Over Chicken: Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken thighs, ensuring they are evenly coated. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the top.
  5. Bake: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling and thickened.
  6. Serve: Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly. Serve the creamy Southern smothered chicken over cooked rice. Garnish with bacon bits, if desired.

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Use Bone-In Chicken: While boneless chicken thighs are preferred for convenience, you can also use bone-in chicken thighs for extra flavor. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Add Vegetables: Enhance the dish by adding chopped vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms to the sauce mixture for added texture and flavor.
  • Make It Spicier: Increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a dash of hot sauce for a spicier kick.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Keto Option: To make a keto-friendly version of Creamy Southern Smothered Chicken, replace the condensed soups with a combination of heavy cream and chicken broth thickened with xanthan gum or a low-carb thickener. Serve the dish over cauliflower rice instead of white or brown rice.
  • Low-Carb Variation: Reduce the amount of condensed soups used or opt for low-carb versions. Substitute regular milk with unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk to reduce the carb content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs? A: Yes, you can use boneless chicken breasts if you prefer. Just be mindful of adjusting the cooking time as chicken breasts may cook faster than chicken thighs.

Q: Can I make this dish ahead of time? A: Absolutely! You can assemble the dish up to a day in advance and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Just be sure to adjust the baking time accordingly if baking from chilled.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Yes, you can freeze any leftover creamy Southern smothered chicken for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven or microwave.

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With its creamy sauce, tender chicken, and hearty rice, Creamy Southern Smothered Chicken is a timeless Southern classic that never fails to satisfy. Whether you’re craving comfort food on a chilly evening or hosting a family gathering, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. So gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to savor the comforting flavors of the South with this delightful recipe!

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