Stewed Chicken with Brown Gravy
This is one of New Orleans’ favorite lunch specials–one which, unfortunately, is slipping away from us. The old Delmonico used to make the definitive version. Now Mandina’s is probably best. It’s always served with brown gravy over the chicken and rice. The vegetable of choice is peas, preferably with mushrooms in a roux.
Stewed chicken is made sort of like chicken gumbo, but with bigger pieces of chicken and less broth.
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
- 1/8 tsp. thyme leaves
- 2 whole free-range chickens, about 3 pounds each, cut up
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. Tabasco
1. Make a medium-dark roux with the flour and oil over medium-high heat. After the roux has reached the right color, remove from the heat and add the onions, celery, bell pepper, and thyme. Continue to stir for a minute or so until the vegetables get soft and the roux cools.
2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, sear the pieces of chicken until browned all over. Remove the chicken. Add the wine and bring it to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolved the browned bits in the wine.
3. Add three cups of water or chicken stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the roux, which will be lumpy at first but can be dissolved with a wire whisk. Return the chicken to the pot.
4. Cover and simmer on very low heat for about a half-hour. Remove the breasts and wings, and continue to cook 20 or 30 more minutes, or until the meat on chicken legs begins to fall away from the bones. Remove the chicken from the pot and keep warm. Add the salt, pepper and Tabasco to the gravy pot and cook until the sauce thickens. You can strain it or not, according to your taste.
Serve the chicken with rice, with the gravy spooned over both.