Stewed Chicken

Stewed Chicken in Brown Gravy

Stewed Chicken

Prior to becoming a mom of three, a business owner and a food writer/blogger, I was a legal secretary and a paralegal. In New Orleans, I worked for a large law firm that occupied the top two levels of the One Shell Square building on the corner of Poydras Street and St. Charles Avenue. Loved the job, really loved the people I worked with and loved, loved the location. That’s because One Shell Square is situated in the heart of the New Orleans Central Business District, or what the locals call the CBD, and the CBD is sandwiched between the French Quarter and the Warehouse District. From that vantage point, I could walk to a ton of fabulous lunch spots. That means within an hour’s time, I could grab a poor boy to-go from one of the many sandwich shops, sit down to a 2-course prix fixe meal at one of the City’s many white tablecloth establishments or walk the neighboring streets comparing daily chalk board specials until I found one that suited my mood. As you all know, Mondays are forever Red Beans and Rice days in New Orleans. That applies to both lunch and dinner specials at area restaurants. But another classic lunch trend that I adored was Stewed Chicken, which was usually a Tuesday or Wednesday special. I’m talking chicken on the bone cooked down in a roux-based brown gravy served over rice with a side of peas. Oh, it was so good. When I moved to Atlanta, I made a point of recreating that dish just the way I remembered it–melt-in-your-mouth tender chicken covered in a rich, clingy gravy dotted with thick slices of white button mushrooms. The chicken was cooked with the skin on. This is an important point that I’ve carried forward because even if you’re like me and don’t like to eat the skin once it’s cooked this way, you need to keep it on the chicken pieces so it can work its magic. Those magical powers include keeping the chicken moist and enriching the flavor of the gravy. If you’re worried about the extra fat that inevitably accompanies the skin, do as I do. Prior to browning the chicken, lift the skin on each piece and scrape the fat from the underside with the side of a sharp knife. That’s the secret to really good Stewed Chicken!

Stewed Chicken Recipe

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Seasoning Mix
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 5- to 6-pound whole chicken, cut into serving pieces and trimmed of excess fat
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bacon fat or canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 8-ounce package sliced cremini or white mushrooms
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Baked Rice, for serving

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine seasoning mix. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix and season the chicken pieces; set aside. In a large deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons bacon fat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the chicken to the pan skin side down. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 6-8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large plate. Add reserved 1/2 cup bacon fat to the pan; stir to melt. Once hot, make a roux by gradually adding the flour, whisking carefully and vigorously after each addition until smooth. Continue whisking and scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any brown bits until the roux is the color of peanut butter. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery and jalapeno peppers. Cook, whisking constantly, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and reserved seasoning mix; cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Return chicken pieces and accumulated juices to pan, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through and tender, 45-60 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and green onions and cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve over Baked Rice. Makes 6-8 servings.


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2 Responses
  1. Judy Baker says:

    Was it Deutsch, Kerrigan and Stiles? Loved working in One Shell. Best office bldg., bar, gift and wine shop, parking, etc. Jalapeños in stewed chicken?? Really.

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