Smothering meat is both a Cajun and Creole cooking technique who is originally from Louisiana. Both smothered pork and chicken are popular, but it’s also possible to prepare vegetables and seafood this way.
To smother food, you gently cook it in a covered pot with a little liquid added, as if you were brazing on the stove. The meat is browned and then broth or other liquid is used to deglaze the pan. The mixture is then simmered until tender. This cooking technique was invented to get maximum flavor and tenderness from harder cuts of meat.
In Louisiana, various meats are smothered, including game as well as chicken, pork, duck, beef and rabbit. Vegetables like potatoes, corn, and okra can also be smothered, in which case oil or lard is added to keep them from burning. Alternatively, meat products like andouille sausage or salt pork can be added if you are choking on vegetables. Good sides for such dishes include mashed potatoes, peas, okra, boiled or steamed rice, cornbread, and hot buns.
Where to enjoy smothered dishes
Smothered Chicken is a Southern favorite. Head to one of Houston’s soul food restaurants such as This Is It, which has served the best soul food and smothered pork and chicken since 1959, or Esther’s Cajun Cafe & Soul Food where you can enjoy a steak at smothered pepper or a pork chop. If you’re in the mood for smothered chicken, why not try the following recipe? Bring a touch of traditional Louisiana comfort to your dining room tonight with this wonderfully authentic recipe, which serves eight. 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 of chopped celery
- 2 cups of chopped carrots
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 cups of 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 the chicken pieces in 3/4 cup of the 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 in it. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the celery, carrots, garlic and onions to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour and cook for another 5 minutes.
Then go ahead and add the chicken broth, cayenne pepper, and the rest of the salt and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to minimum. You can now return the chicken to the pan. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the chicken juices run clear. Serve hot with your favorite southern sides.