Tommy Centola: Prepare a chicken dish for Sunday dinner | Community

Sunday dinners used to be a big family gathering. It was usually a day when the ladies spent the afternoon cooking. A staple of these meals was fried chicken. Sundays are perfect for this as it requires preparation time and a lot of cleaning afterwards. It got me thinking of other chicken dishes for a less messy Sunday dinner.

Today I dug up some old fashioned chicken recipes. Both of these are great substitutes for fried chicken. Although they may look similar, there are major differences between the two. They both use bone-in chicken, which I find tastier than boneless. The recipes are Chicken Fricassee and Stewed Chicken. Let’s go to the kitchen!

This is a dish my grandmother used to cook. Although I never know his current recipe, this one is very close to my memory of his. I doubt she used chicken broth, probably just water. I find the broth gives it a better flavor.

Chicken Fricassee

1 hen, about 4 pounds, cut into pieces

Creole seasoning to taste

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped bell peppers

4 to 5 cups hot chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons chopped green onions

Directions: Generously season the chicken pieces with the Creole seasoning. Put aside. In a large black iron or stainless steel pot, make a roux by mixing the oil and flour over medium heat. Stir constantly for about 20-25 minutes, or until dark brown. Add onions and peppers. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat them with the roux mixture. Cook for about five minutes. Slowly add water or broth. Add the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about two hours or until the chicken is tender. Adjust seasonings. Remove the bay leaves. Add parsley and green onions and serve immediately. Makes about 8 servings.

Chicken Etouffee is the Southern equivalent of Chicken Etouffee. Etouffee translates to suffocate. The only requirement in this cooking method is the use of onions. After that, you can adjust the dish according to your own preferences.

Smothered chicken

1 fried chicken (3 pounds) or pre-cut chicken

1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 tbsp garlic, minced

Creole seasoning to taste

1/2 cup green onions, sliced

Directions: Cut the fryer into portions and season well with salt and black pepper. Dust chicken pieces with flour until lightly coated and set aside. In a 1-gallon Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken pieces, a few at a time, until browned on all sides. Remove the pieces from the Dutch oven and continue with the remaining pieces until all done. In the same oil, add the onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Saute about 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Return the chicken pieces to the Dutch oven, placing them over the sautéed vegetables. Add a cup of chicken broth and reduce heat to simmer. Cover the Dutch oven and slowly cook the chicken for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding additional chicken broth if needed. Season to taste with the Creole seasoning and add the green onions and parsley. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken is totally tender.

In my grandmother’s day, you had to buy a whole chicken and carve it yourself. Nowadays, you can buy them already cut, even in individual pieces. This way everyone can have their favorite piece of chicken, even if they all want the same one. Enjoy!

Tommy Centola, the Cajun Creole chef, is a New Orleans native who moved to Searcy after Hurricane Katrina and wrote his second cookbook, “Creole and Cajun Comfort Food.” More information is available on its website www.creolecajunchef.com and on Facebook @creolecajunchef.

Tommy Centola, the Cajun Creole chef, is a New Orleans native who moved to Searcy after Hurricane Katrina and wrote his second cookbook, “Creole and Cajun Comfort Food.” More information is available on its website www.creolecajunchef.com and on Facebook @creolecajunchef.