Chicken Smothered in Onions

We have made this dish dozens of times; everyone seems to like it. The source is Emeril Lagasse’s Louisiana Real & Rustic, page 136. Do not be put off by the quantity of onions; they sweat down in volume by 75-80%. The cooking method makes the onion flavor sweet, too.

If you’re afraid of permanent eye injury from slicing all the onions, we recommend using the food processor. While you have the processor out, use it for the bell pepper, too.

Depending on the size of your Dutch oven, you may need to cook the chicken in batches. Speaking of batches, we usually double or triple the flour, salt and cayenne used to coat the chicken in step 1. Otherwise, there does not seem to be enough to coat all the chicken pieces. You can use less cayenne if you are worried the dish may be too spicy for your taste.

It is acceptable to use frozen corn and peas, but partially thaw the vegetables in the microwave before adding to the Dutch oven. You may also need to reduce the water by half if you use frozen vegetables.

1 large fryer chicken, cut into serving pieces (about 3½ lbs)

2 tsp salt

½ tsp cayenne

1 tbsp flour

¼ cup vegetable oil

8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2½ lbs)

1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers

1 bay leaf

¼ cup water

1 cup whole kernel corn

1 cup young sweet green peas

2 cups sliced mushrooms

3 tbsp chopped parsley

1. In a mixing bowl, toss the chicken with 1½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp cayenne, and flour.

2. In a large cast-iron or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken and brown, cooking for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Add the onions and the remaining ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp cayenne. Stirring constantly, wilt and brown the onions, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned particles, about 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers and bay leaf. Continue stirring, again scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles, for about 15 minutes. Add the water, cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Stir occasionally and cook for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.

3. Add the corn, peas and mushrooms, cover, and cook for 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the parsley.

4. Remove the bay leaf and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

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