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chicken and vegetables in sauce in skillet 1
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4.88 from 25 votes

Smothered Chicken In A Skillet

Smothered chicken is one of my favorite comfort foods. Tender moist 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. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 4 -5
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 3.5 pounds (1.59 kg) chicken pieces (e.g. legs, thighs, breasts, wings) bone in, skin on.
  • 1/4 cup (31 grams) seasoned all purpose flour, Note 1
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Vegetables

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch/1.3 cm pieces
  • 4 large carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch slices
  • 4 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 inch/1.2 cm slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch/1.3 cm slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
  • 3 cups (90 grams) fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped optional to add at final step

Sauce

  • 2 cup (473 ml) chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme I use a bit more
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed into 1/4 cup/59 ml cold water
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Garnish (optional)

  • chopped green onions or chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F/176.7C
  • PREPARE CHICKEN : Trim extra fat from chicken. Place seasoned flour into a bag and season chicken pieces, one at a time, by shaking in bag (shake off excess flour and discard any remaining flour mixture after all chicken is coated).
  • SAUTÉ CHICKEN: In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat to medium-high heat. Fry chicken on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken and repeat on second side. Drain on a paper towel over plate and set chicken aside. If your pan is not large enough to fit all the chicken pieces with some space in a single layer, fry in two batches then transfer all the chicken to a larger covered roasting pan.
  • SAUTE VEGETABLES: Sauté vegetables and garlic in the skillet for 5 minutes. Place chicken back in skillet (or transfer to pan with chicken if using a separate pan) and settle vegetables under and on top of chicken.
  • BAKE: Pour broth into bottom of skillet (or roasting pan) and sprinkle chicken and vegetables with thyme. Cover chicken, place in the oven and cook chicken for about 35-45 minutes. Vegetables should be tender and chicken should read 160F-165F/71-74C with an instant thermometer.
  • FINISH 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, 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, stir in spinach (if using) 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 or with crusty bread. Garnish with parsley or green onions if desired.

Notes

  1. To make seasoned flour: combine 1/4 cup (31 grams) flour with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. Shortcut: buy seasoned flour or chicken seasoning (about 4-5 teaspoons) to add to flour. 
  2. Variations and Substitutes
    • Chicken options
      • You can substitute a whole cut-up chicken or any type of bone-in chicken pieces you prefer e.g. all thighs, all breasts, etc.
      • Skinless chicken would be fine too. 
    • Vegetable variations
      • 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 fresh spinach, use a cup or more of frozen chopped spinach, microwaved on high for 3 minutes then well drained.
    • Seasonings
      • Play around with the seasonings. I love thyme or rosemary in this recipe. Marjoram, sage and poultry seasoning would work too. Even dill.
  3. Make Ahead: 
    • Make the full recipe a day or two ahead, cool and refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat in a 350F/176.7C oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
    • 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/163-176.7C oven before serving.  
 
Nutrition values are estimates. 
Calories: 760kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 202mg | Sodium: 1367mg | Potassium: 1038mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 13628IU | Vitamin C: 63mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 9mg