Maw-Maw's Country Smothered Chicken
Combine tender young spring chickens with fresh country smoked sausage, big chunks of mushrooms, right-from-the-garden carrots, a mirapoix of seasoning veggies, and a rich buttery gravy and you got all the makings for a pot of "country chicken" that'll make ya' mule kick the slatsout of the side of the barn! And it tastes so darn good, even city slickers love it!
2 spring chickens, skinned and cut into pieces
2 Tbsp. Frank Davis Poultry Seasoning
4 tsp. Frank Davis Grill-N-Broil Seasoning
3/4 stick margarine
1 lb. fresh smoked country sausage
3 large onions, sliced in chunks
2/3 cup celery, coarsely cut
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 lb. Portabellini mushrooms, chunked
1 cup fresh carrots, large dice
1/2 cup chicken stock + ? cup white wine
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. sweet basil
? tsp. white pepper
? cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. parsley, minced
2 Tbsp. green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup water
6 cups broad egg noodles, cooked al dente
First, take the chickens, cut them into serving pieces, wash them thoroughly, and remove ?all the fat.
Then season each piece well with both the Grill-N-Broil and the poultry seasoning. Next, ?add the three-quarters stick of margarine to a black cast iron 6-quart Dutch oven and get it to the point of "just starting to brown." Then drop in the sausage, the onions, the celery, the bell pepper, the mushrooms, and the carrots and fry the mixture until it caramelizes (turns a dark brown). Then when the seasoning vegetables are cooked, remove them from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon and set them aside in a strainer placed over a bowl.
Now, using the same margarine you used to caramelize the veggies, drop in and quickly fry the chicken pieces until they brown slightly. When fully seared, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside too.
At this point, bring the pot back to "high heat," stir in the chicken stock and white wine, and bring it to a boil. What you want to do is "deglaze" the pot (take a spoon and scrape off the bottom all the "debris" that stuck to the pot as the chicken browned). Then, in alternating layers, add the chicken and the saut?ed vegetables back to the Dutch oven, along with the bay leaves, the sweet basil, the white pepper, and the all purpose flour.
When all the ingredients are in, reduce the heat and smother everything down until the chicken is tender (or until the meat starts to pull away from the bone-which should take about an hour or so). Finally, about 10 minutes before the chicken is ready to serve, drop in the broccoli florets and the green peas and allow them to soften at a simmer.
When you're ready to eat, remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a warming platter. Then bring the "pot gravy" to a boil, toss in a sprinkling of parsley and green onions, and thicken the gravy to your taste by stirring in 3 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup cold water. All that's left is to ladle the sauce over the platter of chicken and spoon everything over a heaping plate of hot noodles!
While there is certainly nothing wrong with serving this dish with mashed potatoes or Cajun steamed rice, most New Orleanians prefer it best when served with the buttered noodles and fresh homemade biscuits. A tossed spinach and cucumber salad presented on the side rounds out the menu. To prepare the chicken "au natural," prepare it without any of the flour or cornstarch thikeners.
Allow the pieces to smother slowly and gently in the Dutch oven, rendering out their own light, natural juices. Take care not to add the broccoli too early in the cooking process-overcooking tends to turn the vegetable mushy. You want to keep it tender crisp.
For an even easier version of this dish, quickly saut? the seasoning vegetables until they caramelize. Then toss all the remaining ingredients into the Dutch oven (in layers), cover the pot, and slide the pot into a preheated 325-degreen oven. Then about an hour and a half later, take the pot from the oven, remove the cover, and place the chicken pieces on a serving platter. All that's left is to bring the gravy to a boil, thicken it with a little cornstarch mixed in cold water, spoon it over the chicken, and eat!! While it's cooking, you don't baste it, you don't stir it, you don't even check it! Now that's easy, y'all.