New Orleans Food Writer Tom Fitzmorris said it best when he said that,“stewed chicken is made sort of like chicken gumbo but with bigger pieces of chicken and less broth.”
Fitzmorris also tells of stewed chicken being a lost lunch time favorite throughout New Orleans. He says that, “unfortunately, it’s slipping away from us.” While I was searching through online menus of restaurants in New Orleans, it’s true, stewed chicken isn’t on the menu.
But I was curious if the meal was actually slipping away from everyone.
I did an unscientific poll on Facebook asking if anyone still makes the chicken meal at home since restaurants don’t seem to be making it. The recipe or stories of it isn’t in that many cookbooks. The only one I have that it’s in is Fitmorris’s NEW ORLEANS FOOD cookbook – so I wasn’t expecting much of a response on it. Overwhelmingly people came to the defense of Stewed Chicken! Some say they make it every other week, others say it’s their most requested meal to make!
A similar version of Stewed Chicken that more people probably have heard of is the French version called Chicken Fricassee. The French comfort food Fricassee is a one-pot dish of chicken braised and sautéed with vegetables in a rich, silky light-colored sauce. And with the huge influence on the food and culture of New Orleans from the early years of France controlling New Orleans, this dish made its way into the kitchen of restaurants and homes and then altered throughout the years by the Creole cooks.
It might be a lost dinner or lunch at a restaurant in New Orleans, but it’s still on the home cooks menu!
This is the first time that I made it. One thing is true in Tom Fitzmorris’ quote, it’s almost just like a gumbo! The smell that fills the house lingers for hours and it’s amazing – the bacon fat as it heats up, the chicken sautéing in the bacon fat, the familiar smell of a roux being made, the lifting aroma of the vegetables softening in the roux, and at the end: the completed pot.
Not only will the smell linger in the house, but the taste buds linger with the brown gravy and fall-off-the-bone chicken pieces. There weren’t to many leftovers after this meal, but even the next day the chicken and gravy was just as good.
After making this, I can’t believe it’s not a popular food everywhere! Why do the restaurants not make this? If you’ve never had this or made Stewed Chicken, you are truly missing out. Make this, tell me what you think. I want to know if this becomes one of your favorite meals. It’s now in my rotation!
If I can ever accomplish one thing here, it’s sharing some of the maybe lesser known meals to you so you can see the many sides of New Orleans. The cuisine is more than red beans, gumbo, jambalaya and crawfish etouffee. Not that anything’s wrong with them, it’s just that that’s what people think when they think of New Orleans food. But there is so much more out there – including Stewed Chicken.
Make this recipe, pass it on, and share the home-style side of New Orleans in your home – I do!
1 lbs drumsticks
1 lbs thigh
2 tbsp bacon fat
1 tbsp parsley flakes
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground sage
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup bacon fat
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1/8 tsp dried thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 8-oz can of sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper for taste
In a small bowl, combine the parsley, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme and sage.
In a dutch oven, melt the 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.
Mix each of the chicken pieces in the small bowl of seasonings so each piece is lightly covered.
Once the bacon fat is ready, brown the chicken pieces in batches until all the pieces are done. It takes about 3-4 minutes per side… set the browned pieces aside.
In the dutch oven, heat the 1/2 cup of remaining bacon fat. Slowly add the flour and make a dark chocolate roux. Once the color of the roux is set, remove the pot from the burner and add the onions, green bell pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, dried thyme and garlic. Keep stirring until the vegetables have softened – about 5 minutes.
Put the pot back on the burner, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once the pot reaches a boil, add the chicken back to the pot, cover slightly and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 60 minutes.
With 5-10 minutes left, add the mushrooms, green onions and Tabasco Sauce. Here you can also check the flavor and add salt and pepper if needed.
To serve, place the cooked rice on a plate with a couple pieces of the chicken. Pour some of the gravy over the rice and chicken. Enjoy the fall off the bone chicken!
Be sure to subscribe to Red Beans & Eric to receive all the new recipes, interviews, reviews, and more that are published here. You can contact me at anytime by clicking here, leaving a comment below, or on any of the social media sites that I am on.
Thank you for stopping by!