Smothered Chicken

When Edna Lewis's The Taste of Country Cooking came out in 1976, this southern chicken-and-onion sauté became a staple in the Guarnaschelli household. In the 25 years she's been preparing it, Maria has changed the recipe to make it her own. Amazing Chicken Recipes

Smothered Chicken
Photo: © William Meppem


  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • Two 3-pound chickens, each cut into 8 pieces

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 large Spanish onions, finely chopped

  • 4 thyme sprigs

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth


  1. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add half of the chicken to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side; transfer to a large plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

  2. Spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of the butter from the skillet. Return the chicken to the skillet, add the thyme and bay leaves, cover tightly and simmer over very low heat until the chicken breast pieces are just white throughout, about 40 minutes. Transfer the breast pieces to a large plate and cover to keep warm. Continue simmering the chicken in the skillet until cooked through, about 15 minutes longer.

  3. Stir in the stock and return the chicken breast pieces to the skillet. Season the chicken sauté generously with salt and pepper and serve.

Suggested Pairing

The caramelized sweet onions here will help underscore the full body and creamy texture of a Chardonnay with notes of toasty oak.

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