Smother chicken in onion gravy

Serves 4 – 5. Contributed by Ellen Sweets from AUstin, TX

Recipe Country of Origin:

Dish Category: Entrees, Meats

Recipe’s Source: Watched it being prepared

When was it served: Regularly

How is it served: Family Style

My mother wasn’t a fancy cook, but my father liked the foods he ate growing up. He was one of 17 children so they ate lots of smothered chicken and pork chops because after working in the fields on their southeast Missouri farm they were hungry, and rice and gravy was a favorite. So my mother learned to make the food he liked. She varied it by adding green bell pepper and mushrooms to the chicken, but just chopped yellow onions and green peppers to pork chops. It was one of our favorites too.

My mother cooked with bacon fat. She kept a fat, apple-shaped ceramic jar on the stove and whenever she cooked bacon she poured the excess into that jar. I don’t cook bacon much, so i just use canola or vegetable or peanut oils. Olive oil is no good for frying — anyway, we only used olive oil for making salad dressings in our house when I was a kid.

Because I love to make and serve and eat it occasionally. It’s a connection to home and long-gone family traditions. Friends who like Southern cooking want it; many of my friends are not from the South, and have been caught up in angst over what they shouldn’t eat. At my house they are free to pig out on foods they really want and either don’t know how to cook, aren’t willing to take the time to cook, or, as I said, mired in angst over fat and calories. They don’t know what they’re missing! I am fluent in fat and calories — I don’t speak it on a daily basis, but every now and then the soul cries out for smothered chicken, rice, gravy and collard greens with sliced tomatoes and cornbread. As Walter Cronkite used to say, “and that’s the way it is.”


Serves 4-6
6-8 chicken thighs
3/4 cup cooking oil
kosher salt and black pepper
Garlic powder
1 1/2 cups flour, divided use
1 red onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 half teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 cup green onions, sliced, green and white parts
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Bring thighs to room temperature. Rinse and pat dry. On both sides, sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Rub seasonings in. Dredge chicken parts in 1 cup of flour and set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet (with a lid) to medium hot — or so that a drop of water pops when dropped in. The skillet should be large enough to hold all chicken pieces. Gently place chicken in the skillet and brown on both sides, turning carefully with tongs, so as not to break the skin. When golden bown, remove chicken to paper towels. Scrape out any flour bits that remain. Reduce heat to medium and carefully stir in remaining flour and continued to stir until flour turns dark brown. Take care not to let the flour burn or the resulting gravy will taste bitter.

Stir in red onions and cook until they begin to wilt. Add poultry seasoning, thyme and Old Bay and simmer until mixture starts to thicken. Return chicken to the skillet and cover. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Correct seasonings if necessary. Add green onions and simmer another 10 minutes.

Suggested: Serve over rice or mashed potatoes with sliced tomatoes and steamed and buttered baby green beans.