Smothering meat is both a Cajun and Creole cooking technique who is originally from Louisiana. Stewed pork and chicken are popular, but vegetables and seafood can also be prepared this way.
To smother foods, you gently cook them in a covered pan with a little added liquid, like braising on the stovetop. The meat is browned and then a broth or other type of liquid is used to deglaze the pan. The mixture is then simmered until tender. This cooking technique was invented to extract maximum flavor and tenderness from tougher cuts of meat.
In Louisiana, various meats are smothered, including wild game as well as chicken, pork, duck, beef, and rabbit. Vegetables like potato, corn and okra can also be smothered, in which case oil or lard is added to prevent them from burning. Alternatively, meat products like andouille sausage or salt pork can be added if you are smothering vegetables. Good accompaniments for these dishes include mashed potatoes, peas, okra, boiled or steamed rice, cornbread and hot rolls.
Where to taste smothered dishes
Stewed Chicken is a Southern favorite. Head to one of Houston’s soul food restaurants such as This Is It, which has been serving the best soul food and smothered pork and chicken since 1959, or Esther’s Cajun Cafe & Soul Food where you can enjoy a pepper steak smothered or a pork chop. If you’re craving smothered chicken, why not try the following recipe? Bring a touch of traditional Louisiana comfort food to your dining room tonight with this wonderfully authentic recipe, which serves eight people. You will need about an hour to do this.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 whole raw chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 3 teaspoons of salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 3 cups chopped yellow onions
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Meanwhile, season the chicken with a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Dip chicken pieces in 3/4 cup flour. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown it on all sides. Set the chicken aside and drain the pan, leaving about a tablespoon of fat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the celery, carrots, garlic and onions to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour and cook for another 5 minutes.
Then add the chicken broth, cayenne pepper, and the remaining salt and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and lower the heat to low. You can now put the chicken back in the pan. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and the juices run clear. Serve hot with your favorite southern sides.