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  • Tommy Centola

Whip up winner, winner Sunday dinner

Sunday dinners used to be a great gathering of the family. It was usually a day that ladies would spend the afternoon cooking. A staple of those meals were fried chicken. Sunday’s are perfect for that since it requires preparation time and lots of cleanup afterwards. It got me thinking of other chicken dishes for a Sunday dinner that is not as messy.

Today, I dug out some old school chicken recipes. These both are great substitutes for fried chicken. While they may look the same, there are some major differences between the two. They both use bone-in chicken, which I find is more flavor-able than boneless. The recipes are Chicken Fricassee and Smothered Chicken. Let’s Head To The Kitchen!

This is a dish that my grandmother used to cook. While I will never know her actual recipe, this one is very close to my memory of hers. I doubt that she used chicken stock, probably just water. I find the stock gives it a better flavor.

Chicken Fricassee

1 hen, about 4 pounds, cut into serving pieces

Creole seasoning to taste

2/3 cups vegetable oil

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped bell peppers

4 to 5 cups warm chicken stock

2 bay leaves

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons chopped green onions

Season the chicken pieces generously with Creole seasoning. Set aside. In a large black iron or stainless steel pot, make a roux by combining the oil and flour over medium heat. Stir constantly for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is dark brown. Add the onions and bell peppers. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until they are soft. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat well with the roux mixture. Cook for about five minutes. Slowly add the water or broth. Add the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about two hours, or until the chicken is tender. Adjust seasonings. Remove the bay leaves. Add the parsley and green onions and serve immediately. Makes about 8 servings.

Smothered chicken is the Southern equivalent of Chicken Étouffée. Étouffée translates as to smother. The only requirement in this cooking method is the use of onions. After that, you can adjust the dish to your own preferences.

Smothered Chicken

1 (3-pound) fryer chicken or already cut up chicken

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

2 cups chicken stock

Creole seasoning to taste

1/2 cup green onions, sliced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Cut fryer into serving pieces and season well using salt and black pepper. Dust chicken pieces with flour until lightly coated and set aside. In a one gallon dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté chicken pieces, a few at a time, until golden brown on all sides. Remove pieces from dutch oven and continue with the remaining pieces until all are done. Using the same oil, add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté approximately 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Return chicken pieces to dutch oven, placing them on top of the sautéed vegetables. Add one cup of chicken stock and reduce heat to simmer. Cover dutch oven and slowly cook chicken approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding additional chicken stock as necessary. Season to taste with Creole seasoning and add green onions and parsley. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is totally tender.

In my grandmother’s day, you would have to buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself. These days, you can buy them already cut up, even by the individual pieces. That way, everyone can have their favorite piece of chicken, even if they all want the same one. Enjoy!!!

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