1/4 cup peanut, corn, or Cannola oil

1 jumbo yellow onion, sliced into half-rings

2 whole bunches shallots, tops and bottoms

2 ribs celery, rough-diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. coarse-ground black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

4-6 tsp. Frank Davis Poultry Seasoning

1 cup all purpose flour, seasoned (for dusting)

2 small fryer chickens, cut into 8 serving pieces each

1/2 lb. Portabella mushrooms, rough-chopped

1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1/4 cup freshly minced flat-leaf parsley

2 whole bay leaves

1/4 cup dry sherry or fat-free chicken broth

Gravy flour or cornstarch if needed

4 cups cooked white rice

The first thing you want to do is take a heavy cast iron Dutch oven and heat the oil to about 350 degrees right to where it's sizzling pretty good.

Then drop in all the onion slices (along with the celery and the garlic) and, while continually stirring, cook them down until the onions completely caramelize (which means they turn a rich golden brown).

This should take you a good 8 to 10 minutes.

In the meantime, while the seasoning vegetables are cooking, direct your attention to the chicken and liberally sprinkle the pieces with salt, black and cayenne pepper, and poultry season.

Note: Be sure to take a little extra time and rub these spices into the meat with both hands.

When this has been done, very lightly dust the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour and set them aside momentarily.

When the veggies are cooked, take a slotted spoon, remove them from the pot, and set them aside for a while (but leave the onion-flavored oil in the pot because you're going to use it to brown the chicken pieces).

Keep in mind that 'the browning' needs to be done hot, becauseyou want to sear the chicken and seal in all the juices.

The best way to accomplish that is to do a few pieces at a time so that the parts don't crowd together and cause the temperature in the pot to drop so low you 'render' the meat instead of 'sear' it.

Of course, as each piece is browned, remove it from the Dutch oven and temporarily set it aside on a platter.

Then, when all the chicken pieces have been done, place them back into the pot, cover them with the onions you caramelized earlier, stir in the chopped mushrooms, fold in the diced tomatoes, sprinkle on the parsley, drop in the bay leaves, and splash on the wine.

Now put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let the chicken simmer until all the flavors combine and develop.

After about an hour or so, the chicken should be 'fall-off-the-bone-tender' and ready to eat.

One little note here: Don't be concerned about there being very little 'liquid' in the pot you don't need any.

The chicken and onions and mushrooms will make their own. And once you reduce the fire and set the lid in place, don't go peeking in the pot every 10 minutes. The dish will be just fine I promise you it won't burn!

Finally, when the allotted cooking time is up, all you do to present the dish is take a pair of tongs, remove the chicken pieces from the pot, and place them on a serving platter.

Then, take some gravy flour or a couple tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with a little wine or chicken broth and the mixture into the pan drippings over medium high heat.

In about five minutes or so the natural juices will thicken into a rich and robust chicken gravy that you will liberally ladle over the platter of chicken.

So in addition to the rice, do I have to tell you that this chicken recipe can be served with pasta, grits, polenta, pan-roasted potatoes, over toast points, or even open-face on hot French bread?

Of course, I don't! In fact, it's so doggone good, it doesn't need any side-dish accompaniment!

Except for maybe a cold, crisp, green salad! And maybe a chilled glass from that bottle of wine you had to open!


Chef's Notes:

If instead of a whole cutup chicken you'd prefer to use select pieces of chicken, like the thighs, wings, drumsticks, and so forth, that's no problem just trim away as much excess fat as possible and wash the pieces well before dusting and searing them. I would recommend, however, that you don't use just breast pieces for this stew white meat is way too dry when smothered this way.

It's not listed in the ingredient list, but it would be a mortal sin to prepare this recipe without having a couple of loaves of hot crispy French bread standing by! What appears in the bottom of the pot after the chicken cooks is a true example of 'soppin' gravy.'

To really 'spice up' the finished dish, you can generously sprinkle the chicken pieces with my Bronzing Mix or Grill-N-Broil, or Tony Chachere's, or Paul Prudhomme's, or whichever Cajun/Creole seasoning you like. They each add intensity to not only the chicken pieces themselves but to the resultant gravy as well.