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LOCATION: Recipes >> Poultry >> Smothered 02

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SMOTHERED CHICKEN

2 3-1/2-pound frying chickens, each cut into 8 pieces
1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 cups water

Trim the excess fat from the chicken pieces and sprinkle them with
1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Season 2 cups of the flour
with the remaining 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper. Dredge
the chicken pieces in the flour until coated on all sides. Shake
off any excess flour. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy deep
skillet (cast-iron is perfect) over medium heat until the edge of
a chicken piece dipped into the oil gives off a lively sizzle. Add
as many chicken pieces to the skillet 4 as will fit without touching.
Fry until the pieces are browned on all sides, about 6 minutes.
Adjust the heat as necessary during frying to keep a lively sizzle
without over-browning. Remove the fried chicken to drain and repeat
with the remaining pieces. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of
drippings from the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and add the
onions, peppers, and celery to the skillet. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Move the
vegetables to one side of the skillet and sprinkle the 2 tablespoons
of flour over the other side of the skillet. Cook the flour until
golden brown, stirring constantly. Be careful not to let the flour
burn. Slowly pour in the water and stir until the gravy is smooth.
Divide the chicken between two heavy skillets with lids or place
them all in a large heavy Dutch oven. Top with the gravy and
vegetables and cover the skillets or Dutch oven tightly. Simmer
over low heat until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is
cooked through, about 15 minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt
and pepper as necessary. Serve the chicken, spooning some of the
gravy and vegetables over each piece. Pass extra gravy.

Yield: Makes 8 servings

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