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    Smothered Chicken

    Smothered Chicken… Classic Soul Food that will warm up your body and soul. This is a comfort food that generations have grown up on.

    Perfectly seasoned chicken gets a little bit of beautiful golden brown color first. Then it gets smothered till fall of the bone tender in the most delicious, luscious creamy and rich gravy. A gravy which is brimming with flavors. 

    Make this Southern classic tonight and see why it has become such an iconic dish over the years…

    This Smothered Chicken is the ultimate Southern comfort food. Generously seasoned seared chicken thighs smothered in an amazing gravy. YUM!

    Question: Is there anything better than fried chicken?

    Answer: Yes, Smothered Chicken…

    Seriously, there is just nothing like smothered chicken with perfectly seasoned gravy. Plus, you will be surprised how something that delicious can be so simple and so so budget friendly. 

    No wonder families have eaten this every other week and have no complaints about it. Who can say no to anything that has creamy and rich flavors seep deep into your humble regular chicken.

    This is a great recipe the whole family will love.

    What is Smothered Chicken?

    Close up of smothered chicken in a cast iron skillet.

    Smothered Chicken is classic Soul Food, aka Southern Food. Soul food is an ethnic cuisine that originated in the Southern United States in African American communities. 

    The cuisine originated with the foods that were given to enslaved people by their white owners on Southern plantations during the Antebellum period. Soul food is strongly influenced by West African and Native American food preparation practices. 

    Fried chicken, collared greens, cornbread, black eyed peas, fried okra, macaroni and cheese and, of course, anything smothered and cooked long is your typical soul food.

    Smothered chicken thighs on a white plate.

    Smothered dishes are staples in Soul Food, Southern cuisine and Creole and Cajun traditions. Anything can be smothered, be it chicken, pork, beef or fish. One variation is the New Orleans classic Grillades.

    Basically, meat is first dusted with some flour and seasonings and seared to golden brown, then smothered in gravy prepared by roux. Some aromatics are thrown in like just onion and garlic, or sometimes carrots and celery join the homemade gravy too. 

    For the perfect tasting smothered dish, it has to have all those herbs and seasonings soul food is famous for, and with a generous hand. Soul food is definitely not your “salt and pepper” food. 

    With all those flavors added to any of their dishes, no wonder soul food has become one of the celebrated aspects of mainstream American food culture over the years.

    Today we are doing smothered chicken, but you can use the same recipe to smother some nice pork chops too.

    Why this Recipe Works

    • Layering of Flavors: The individual spices like garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika meld beautifully, but when Creole or Cajun seasoning and chili flakes join the party, the result is an explosive, well-rounded flavor profile.
    • Two-Step Cooking Process: First, you sear the chicken to get that golden, crispy skin. Then, it gets baked in the oven, covered in gravy. This technique ensures that the meat is not just flavorful but also incredibly tender.
    • That Gravy: The gravy is where the magic happens. It’s creamy, rich, and multi-dimensional, thanks to a foundation of sautéed onions and garlic, then boosted by seasoned flour and chicken broth. The heavy cream makes it lusciously thick.
    • Crowd Pleaser: Whether your looking to impress guests, or just enjoy a quiet family Sunday Dinner, smothered chicken will be loved by all.

    Ingredients

    For exact measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

    • Chicken – We highly recommend smothering bone in, skin on chicken thighs, just very traditional. The end result of the juiciest tender chicken can’t be achieved with breast meat. Period. Saying that, if you are a fan of only chicken breasts, you still can make this dish. (Cooking time needs to be adjusted so as not to dry out and toughen the chicken breast.)
    • Seasoning – Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, Creole seasoning, chili powder, chili flakes, salt and black pepper.
    • All Purpose Flour – For dusting the chicken and creating a roux.
    • Aromatics – Onion and garlic.
    • Butter – There’s no substitute!
    • Chicken Stock or Broth – We use Better than Bouillon.
    • Heavy Whipping Cream – Because we’re not counting calories.
    • Parsley – For garnish.

    Southern Smothered Chicken Recipe

    1. Season and prep the chicken: Remember seasonings and herbs? It all starts with that. Mix in a bowl garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, Creole seasoning, chili powder, chili flakes, salt and pepper.

    Seasonings in a wooden bowl.

    You can use store bought Creole seasoning, but it tends to have so much salt. Making your own creole seasoning is so much easier. Try my homemade Creole Seasoning Recipe.

    Season the chicken thighs with half of the above seasoning. Rub it all over, making sure you run some under the skin. 

    Seasoned chicken thighs.

    Mix the remaining half of the seasoning with flour. Dredge the chicken on both sides with this seasoned flour and shake off any excess flour.

    2. Sear the chicken: Heat oil in a large skillet (I love cast iron for smothered dishes) over medium-high heat and place the chicken skin side down first and sear it for 4-5 minutes, or until they have a beautiful golden brown color. Flip and fry for 3-4 more minutes. Plate them out.

    Seared thighs plated out.

    3. Create the sauce: In the same pan, add in sliced onions and sauté till they start turning brown. Add in garlic and stir it for a minute. 

    Time to add some more butter. Once it’s melted, add in remaining flour mixture and stir it for a couple of minutes till it starts to get a little brown. The color of this roux will determine the color of your gravy. Some like it golden yellow, some like it darker.

    From here, you will be building up the gravy by adding chicken broth. The technique to make luscious, rich creamy gravy is to add a little bit of broth at one time, stirring in circles all the time. Be sure to scrape up any of those tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

    Keep on stirring for a few minutes till the gravy is smooth. Add in cream to add the richness and creaminess. Cook till the gravy thickens up a bit.

    4. Complete the dish: Time to place the chicken pieces back into the gravy. Put them skin side up. Sprinkle some parsley. 

    Chicken added back into the gravy.

    From here you can continue to cook on the stove top, covered, till the meat is fall off the bone, say 35-45 minutes. But we really like to smother this in the oven. 

    Somehow the oven baked chicken comes out so much better and fall off the bone glistening with one great gravy. Cover and bake the chicken in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for an hour. 

    While it’s baking, check out our collection of favorite Chicken Thigh Recipes.

    Uncover and bake it for another 5-6 minutes till you get the beautiful color on your chicken. Sprinkle some more fresh parsley and there you go.

    The finished product, fresh out of the oven. Mmm, this is going to be good!

    What to Serve with Smothered Chicken

    1. Traditionally, it’s devoured over a bed of white rice or mashed potatoes.
    2. We can see some Cheesy Grits would be great too.
    3. Mac and cheese often finds its place alongside smothered chicken too.
    4. Greens like collard greens or any other veggies like green beans or peas are great sides for smothered chicken. Or go all out with some Fried Green Tomatoes.

    Variations

    • Add in carrots and celery along with onion in the beginning to get more flavors and veggie power in dish.
    • We can see sautéing mushrooms along with the onion going great in smothered chicken.
    • Start with bacon. Fry the bacon and plate it out, then fry the chicken in bacon grease. Use the bacon bits later in the dish.
    • Make the same recipe with pork chops. So, so good.

    Expert Tips

    • Bring Chicken to Room Temperature: Remove it from the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking.
    • Skillet Choice: Use a cast-iron skillet if you can. Cast iron heats evenly and retains heat well, ensuring a consistent cook for both the chicken and the gravy.
    • Fine-Tuning the Gravy: If you find your gravy too thick, you can always thin it out by adding a little more chicken broth. If it’s too thin, let it simmer a bit longer to reach your desired consistency.
    • Spice Level: If you prefer a milder dish, feel free to dial down on the chili flakes and Creole/Cajun seasoning. For more heat, crank those up!
    • Optimal Searing: Make sure the skillet is hot but not smoking before adding the chicken. This ensures a nice sear without burning.
    • Internal Temperature: For fall off the bone tender dark meat chicken, cook chicken thighs to an internal temperature of 185-190 degrees, as measured with an instant read meat thermometer. Chicken breast should only be cooked to 165 degrees.
    • Rest Before Serving: Once out of the oven, let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, making the chicken even more tender.
    • Lazy Day Hack: Crave some smothered chicken on hectic weeknights? Ditch frying the chicken at home. Buy some store bought fried chicken and smother it in gravy on the stove top. This should happen in less than 30 minutes, as the chicken is already cooked. Smart?

    Leftovers and Storage

    It refrigerates great for 2-3 days. So go ahead and make a big batch and store leftovers in an airtight container. Simply reheat in a pan over medium heat, or microwave when ready for another meal.

    You can freeze this meal for up to a couple of months in an airtight container.

    The skillet full of this classic soul food... smothered chicken!

    This is a great slow simmered meal, Southern comfort at its best. With tasty, tender chicken in all that gravy, it’s sure to become a new family favorite.

    What are you waiting for? Get that chicken smothered and cozy up with a good old plateful of rice or mashed potatoes… all Good… all yum… all Soulful!!

    Smothered Chicken, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    A serving of smothered chicken on the Gypsy Plate.

    Try these other great chicken recipes!
    Creamy Chicken Skillet
    Pollo Guisado
    Jamaican Curry Chicken
    Marry Me Chicken
    Chicken Provençal
    Peri Peri Chicken
    Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken
    Grilled Chicken Tacos
    Peruvian Chicken

    Smothered chicken.

    Smothered Chicken

    Yield: 6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    This Smothered Chicken is the ultimate Southern comfort food. Generously seasoned seared chicken thighs smothered in an amazing gravy. YUM!

    Ingredients

    • 6-7 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
    • 2 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 2 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp Creole or Cajun seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 small onion, sliced
    • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 3 Tbsp butter
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 2 Tbsp parsley, divided
    • 2 Tbsp oil

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
    2. Mix garlic power, onion powder, paprika, oregano, Creole seasoning, chili powder, salt, pepper and chili flakes in a bowl.
    3. Use half of the above seasoning to season the chicken thighs all over, making sure to rub it under the skin.
    4. Mix the remaining seasoning with the flour. Dredge the chicken in flour shaking the excess off.
    5. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat, put the chicken skin side down and fry for 4-5 minutes, or till it gets a nice golden brown sear. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Plate it out.
    6. In the same skillet, add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in garlic and give a stir for a minute.
    7. Add in butter and let it melt. Stir 4 Tbsp of remaining seasoned flour and keep on stirring till it gets slight brown color, about 2 minutes.
    8. Add in chicken broth slowly, whisking all the time, creating a gravy. Season it with 1/4 tsp of chili flakes for color.
    9. Add in cream and cook till it starts to thicken up.
    10. Place chicken back in along with any juices, skin side up. Season it with fresh parsley.
    11. Bake it covered in preheated oven for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 5-6 minutes so the skin gets some color.
    12. Garnish it with fresh parsley and serve.

    Notes

    1. For dark meat chicken, cook to an internal temperature of 185 degrees. If using breast, cook to 165 degrees.
    2. If you find your gravy too thick, you can always thin it out by adding a little more chicken broth. If it’s too thin, let it simmer a bit longer to reach your desired consistency.
    3. It refrigerates great for 2-3 days. So go ahead and make a big batch and store leftovers in an airtight container. Simply reheat in a pan over medium heat, or microwave when ready for another meal.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 502Total Fat 36gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 207mgSodium 1122mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 34g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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