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Southern Smothered Chicken

Southern Smothered Chicken: A Heartwarming Family Recipe

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Bring the comforting flavors of the South to your dinner table with this soulful Southern Smothered Chicken recipe. With its tender chicken thighs smothered in a rich and flavorful gravy, this dish is sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re craving a hearty weeknight meal or planning a cozy Sunday dinner, this Southern classic is guaranteed to warm your heart and soul. Let’s dive into the recipe and discover how to create this beloved dish that’s steeped in tradition and flavor.

Ingredients

  • Meat:
    • 4 Chicken thighs, bone-in
    • 1 tsp Chicken bouillon
  • Produce:
    • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 Green pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 Red pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp Garlic powder
    • 1 tsp Onion powder
    • 1 tsp Dried herbs
    • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • Canned Goods:
    • 1/2 cup Thin chicken broth
  • Baking & Spices:
    • 7 tbsp Flour
    • 2 tsp Paprika
    • 1/2 tsp Pepper
    • 2 tsp Salt
  • Dairy:
    • 4 tbsp Unsalted butter
    • 1/8 cup Whole milk

Instructions

  1. Season the Chicken Thighs: In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried herbs, and Cajun seasoning. Rub the seasoning mixture evenly over the chicken thighs, ensuring they are well coated.
  2. Dredge in Flour: Dredge the seasoned chicken thighs in flour, shaking off any excess. This will create a crispy coating and help thicken the gravy later on.
  3. Brown the Chicken: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken thighs and brown them on both sides until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  4. Saute the Vegetables: In the same skillet, add the remaining butter and sauté the sliced onions, green pepper, and red pepper until softened and caramelized, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Make the Gravy: Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of flour over the sautéed vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes to create a roux. Gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Cook the gravy until thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  6. Return Chicken to the Skillet: Once the gravy has thickened, return the browned chicken thighs to the skillet, nestling them into the gravy and vegetables.
  7. Simmer and Cook: Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer the chicken in the gravy for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking and to prevent sticking.
  8. Finish with Milk: Just before serving, pour the whole milk over the chicken and gravy, stirring gently to incorporate. This will add richness and creaminess to the dish.
  9. Serve and Enjoy: Transfer the Southern smothered chicken to a serving platter and garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Serve hot alongside your favorite Southern sides such as mashed potatoes, rice, or cornbread.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Adjust Seasonings: Feel free to adjust the seasoning levels to suit your taste preferences. Add more Cajun seasoning for a spicier kick or increase the garlic and onion powder for extra flavor.
  • Use Boneless Chicken: If you prefer boneless chicken thighs or breasts, you can certainly use them in this recipe. Adjust the cooking time accordingly as boneless cuts may cook faster than bone-in.
  • Add Bacon: For added flavor, consider adding cooked bacon pieces to the gravy along with the vegetables.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

  • Keto Version: To make this recipe keto-friendly, skip the flour dredging step or use a low-carb flour alternative such as almond flour or coconut flour. Replace the thin chicken broth with homemade or store-bought keto-friendly chicken broth with no added sugars.
  • Low-Carb Version: Reduce the amount of flour used for dredging the chicken and thickening the gravy to lower the carb content. You can also omit the onions and peppers or use them sparingly to reduce the overall carbohydrate content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs? A: Yes, boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be used in this recipe. However, keep in mind that they may cook faster than bone-in thighs, so adjust the cooking time accordingly to prevent them from drying out.

Q: Can I make this recipe ahead of time? A: Yes, you can prepare the Southern smothered chicken ahead of time and reheat it before serving. Store the cooked chicken and gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the oven until warmed through.

Q: What sides pair well with Southern smothered chicken? A: This dish pairs well with a variety of Southern sides such as mashed potatoes, rice, biscuits, cornbread, collard greens, or green beans.

Q: Can I freeze leftover chicken and gravy? A: Yes, you can freeze leftover Southern smothered chicken and gravy for future meals. Allow the dish to cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Indulge in the comforting flavors of the South with this soulful Southern Smothered Chicken recipe. With its tender chicken thighs bathed in a rich and flavorful gravy, this dish captures the essence of Southern hospitality and home cooking. Whether enjoyed for a cozy family dinner or shared with friends at a potluck gathering, this heartwarming recipe is sure to evoke fond memories and leave everyone craving for more. So gather your ingredients, channel your inner Southern chef, and treat yourself to a taste of tradition with this beloved family recipe.

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