Weekend Recipe: Southern-Style Smothered Chicken

Cook's Country

For perfectly tender, evenly cooked Southern-Style Smothered Chicken from Cook's Country, we start with chicken parts rather than a whole bird. We brown the pieces and then shallow-braise them in a savory gravy built from pantry ingredients: chicken broth, flour, sautéed onions, celery, garlic, and dried sage. We found that we needed just 2 tablespoons of flour to thicken the gravy to a rich—but not stodgy—consistency. A splash of cider vinegar brightens the sauce and helps the chicken’s flavor shine.

Southern-Style Smothered Chicken
Serves 4

This dish is best served with rice, but it’s also good with potatoes. You may substitute ground sage for the dried sage leaves, but decrease the amount to 1/4 teaspoon.


3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half crosswise, drumsticks, and/or thighs), trimmed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped fine
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

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1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Spread 1/2 cup flour in shallow dish. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess, and transfer to plate.

2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken to pot, skin side down, and cook until deep golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes per side; transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining chicken, adjusting heat if flour begins to burn.

3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat and return pot to medium heat. Add onions, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, sage, and remaining 2 tablespoons flour and cook until vegetables are well coated with flour and garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in broth, scraping up any browned bits.

4. Nestle chicken into sauce, add any accumulated juices from plate, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until breasts register 160 degrees and drumsticks/thighs register 175 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes.

5. Transfer chicken to serving dish. Stir vinegar into sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

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