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An All-American 4th of July: Southern Smothered Chicken

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I think my favorite holiday may be the 4th of July. It gives me a chance to not only run around grilling to my hearts content without people thinking I am a mad man playing with fire and knives, but it gives me a chance to delve into what is considered to be true-blue (or true red/white and blue) American cooking. It's fun and that really is what cooking should be all about.

In this series called An All-American 4th of July, we will have some fun with some true American cooking. It will be tasty! It will be easy and it will give you a chance to celebrate the birth of the greatest nation on the face of this earth while filling your stomach with delicious morsels of Americana!

When it comes to chicken, few people can conjure up pure flavor more than the fine people in the South. For whatever reasons, when people think Southern food, chicken is usually one of the dishes. Though you can find a version or two of the famed Southern Fried Chicken in most areas of the world, the real flavors of the South come from the chicken dishes served at Sunday dinner.

Southern Smothered Chicken is a dish I have enjoyed many times when I have visited the South. Like most Southern dishes, it is rather simple to prepare and always enjoyable to eat. It is basically a sauteed (or fried) chicken, draped in a fresh mushroom sauce and accentuated with barley. When we prepare this dish at Casa de Cuisine, we like to top the dish with another Southern favorite, pecans!

Ingredients needed to make Southern Smothered Chicken (serves 4):

  • 3 Tbs. corn oil
  • 1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup barley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup halved pecans

Steps:

  1. In a large sauté pan or skillet heat 2 Tbs. oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and the mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes. Add the garlic and barley and sauté 2 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Add the chicken, cover and cook 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken to a platter. Spoon the gravy over the chicken and top with the pecans

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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