Chicken and Vegetables is one of my favorite comfort foods. Tender chicken smothered in onions, carrots, celery, peppers and spinach and a yummy sauce – all in one skillet.
Food for the soul, this one pot meal of chicken and vegetables goes way back, over 30 years at least. I used to call it smothered chicken. It’s a family fall or winter favorite, delicious served with noodles, mashed potatoes or rice. It shares similar tastes to a chicken stew or fricassee, but contains no dairy.
I use bone in, skin-on chicken. If you’ve seen my other posts, you’ll know that I always prefer dark meat (thighs and legs) because I find it is juicier and more flavorful. But since the chicken and vegetables are covered in a sauce, the chicken – both dark and white – stays moist.
Weird tip: To avoid fry/onion-smell hair, I wrap a scarf around my head during the frying/saute part. Not pretty and my husband just shakes his head, but worth it!
This recipe is well worth the few extra steps and time in my opinion and it can be made ahead and warmed up the next day. If fact, it’s just as good or better the next day. To top off the comfort food vibe, serve this saucy chicken and vegetable recipe with fluffy basic mashed potatoes.
Tailor To Your Taste
- You can substitute a whole chicken with any type of bone-in chicken pieces you prefer e.g. all thighs, all breasts, etc.
- Instead of fresh spinach, use a cup or more of frozen chopped spinach, microwaved on high for 3 minutes then well drained.
- Play around with the seasonings. I love thyme or rosemary in this recipe. Marjoram, sage and poultry seasoning would work too. Even dill.
- Substitute or add other vegetables like mushrooms, sweet potato or parsnips. I don’t suggest watery vegetables like zucchini as they can become mushy.
- Instead of making your own seasoned flour, buy a seasoning mix with similar seasonings (no chili powder or sugar!)
- Substitute 2 teaspoons of garlic from the jar or 2 frozen garlic cubes instead of mincing fresh garlic.
- Cut down on time by chopping the onions in a food processor.
Make Ahead Chicken and Vegetables
- Make the full recipe, cool and refrigerate. Warm up in the oven the next day. The only small downside is that the spinach won’t maintain its vibrant green color.
- Leftovers are delish and will keep in the fridge for several days.
- You can also make the dish a couple hours ahead and rewarm it before serving.
Chicken and Vegetables In A Skillet
- a large skillet with lid - about 14". If you don't have one, you can transfer chicken and vegetables to a roasting pan for the oven portion of the recipe.
- 3.5 lbs chicken pieces (e.g. legs, thighs, breasts, wings) bone in, skin on.
- 1/4 cup seasoned flour ( 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp. paprika, ½ tsp pepper, ½ tsp each garlic powder and onion powder)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion
- 4 large carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch slices
- 4 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 red pepper, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
- 2 cup chicken broth, warmed in microwave
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp cornstarch, mixed into 1/4 cup cold water
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F
- PREPARE AND SAUTE CHICKEN: Trim extra fat from chicken. Place seasoned flour into a bag and coat chicken, one piece at a time, by shaking in bag. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium to medium-high. Fry chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and set aside. If your pan is not large enough to fit all the chicken pieces without squishing them in, fry in two batches then transfer all the chicken to a larger roasting pan.
- SAUTE VEGETABLES: Saute vegetables and garlic in the skillet for 5 minutes. Place chicken back in the skillet (or transfer to pan with chicken if using a separate pan) and settle the vegetables under and on top of the chicken. Pour in broth (warmed in microwave) and sprinkle thyme over the chicken and vegetables. Cover, place in the oven and cook for about 45-50 minutes (vegetables should be tender).
- FINISH THE SAUCE AND SERVE: Remove chicken to a plate and set aside while you finish the sauce. Skim grease floating on the top and discard. Place skillet (or pan) on stove and bring vegetable and broth mixture to a boil. Pour in the cornstarch-water slurry and stir until thickened. Reduce heat to low, stir in spinach and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add some more chicken broth or water. Place chicken back into the skillet and spoon over sauce to coat it. If serving to company, transfer the entire dish to a deep platter (or serve in the skillet), sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired and serve with mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.
- Make the full recipe a day or two ahead, cool and refrigerate. Heat in a 350F oven for about 20 min or until hot the next day.
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge for several days. I just warm them in the microwave.
- You can also make the recipe a couple of hours ahead. Rewarm in a 325-350F oven before serving.
This recipe from 2016, now updated, was previously posted as Smothered Chicken.
Other chicken comfort food dishes you might like: