Hearty Smothered Chicken w/ Roasted Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

Last spring I
stumbled across a renovation show called Living by Design. On it hosts Jake and Jazz Smollett take on the redesign of one space in their client's home - a bedroom, a living room, a back deck - and address whatever their client didn't like.  No demolition or major changes, they simply just chose a new color palette, furniture and found a better layout for the area. 

There was a twist to this show, though. When they first met their new client, they'd not only talk about what they needed to happen in the space to make it work, they would also try to get a feel for the kind of food the client liked. At the end of the reveal they would offer their client a home cooked meal to enjoy. Jake would cook the main dish. Jazz would create the dessert.  

One week Jake made a dish he called Smothered Chicken and he served it with garlicky mashed potatoes.  It looked delicious, as well as warm and comforting for a cold, rainy winter evening. I copied the recipe into my blog and then totally forgot about it. A few days ago I found out my company was arriving on a day I was out from late morning until their arrival. I decided to go randomly through my drafts to look at recipes I hadn't tried, and this popped. 

This guest happened
to be the person I thought of when I first saw the show, so his new upcoming visit offered the perfect opportunity to check it out. I could make the chicken and mashed potatoes in the morning, and then just reheat everything after I picked him up.  Perfect.  All I needed to do was add a veggie or salad, some bread and a dessert which could easily be picked up at the store ready to serve.

I made my own roasted garlic mashed potatoes instead of following their recipe, but I did use red potatoes as I liked the look of the red potatoes skins in their version. The chicken was super easy, but the cooking time was way longer than I expected.  I loved the look of their presentation, however chose to serve the potatoes and chicken separately and let people serve themselves. 


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Hearty Smothered Chicken 
Jake and Jazz Smollett, Living by Design
Serves 4

Ingredients -

4 T                Salted butter
1 T                Extra- virgin olive oil
1                   Celery stalk, finely chopped
8                   Garlic cloves, minced (I was nervous so used 6, but 8 would have been fine)
½                  Large onion, finely chopped (I used a sweet onion)
½                  Green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
¼                  Jalapeno chile, de-seeded and minced (will do 1/2 or whole next time)
8                   Bone-in skinless chicken thighs
2 ½  tsp        Sea salt - DIVIDED
1 T               Dried oregano
1 T                Dried basil
½ tsp            Cayenne pepper
1 T               Gumbo filet (**See Note)
2 tsp             Granulated garlic
2 tsp             Granulated onion
4 C               Low-sodium chicken stock
⅓ C              Unbleached all-purpose flour
10                 Small mushrooms, finely chopped
A handful of fresh oregano, finely chopped (optional)

***Gumbo Filet was not available locally, but I found it could be ordered online. I will do this for next time. While the gumbo filet could be left out, one gourmet site suggested to get an extra flavor note to replace the one lost, try adding some root beer. Sounds odd but it worked. I probably added about 1/4 cup, not a lot. 

Instructions -

Melt the butter n the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, garlic, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno and saute until the mixture becomes the consistency of a roux, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken thighs and season them with 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt, the dried basil, oregano, cayenne, gumbo file, granulated garlic, and granulated onion. Make sure the chickenisn't on top of the veggies, that is is touching the pan so it can brown. Let the chicken fully cook, making sure to create that nice golden-brown glisten, flipping halfway through, about 40 minutes total.

Remove the chicken to a large bowl and add 3 cups of the stock to the pan. All those delicious seasonings left in the pan will mix in with the stock, creating a tasty and time-friendly gravy. When the stock begins to simmer, add the remaining 1 cup of broth to a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Whisk in the flour until smooth, then add the mixture to the pan, continuously stirring, so it doesn’t lump. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the mushrooms. Continue to cook until the gravy is smooth and thick, about 10 minutes, then return the cooked chicken to the pan, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 20 minutes more, until the chicken is married to the gravy. 

Garnish with fresh oregano (optional) and serve with mashed potatoes or rice. It’s a guaranteed hit for any occasion!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes
Note I made my own recipe with potatoes, roasted garlic, cream cheese, butter, milk or cream and chives. As I always rice my potatoes, I set some of the red skin left behind, chopped it and stirred it back in to get the same visual effect.  I have included their recipe for you below. 

Ingredients -

6                 Garlic cloves
Extra -virgin olive oil
2 lbs.          Red bliss potatoes, skin on and cut into 2 inch dice (about 6 cups)
1 C             Whole milk
8 T              Salted butter
1 tsp           Sea salt
½ tsp          Ground white pepper
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Instructions - 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Spread the peeled garlic cloves on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with a little oil. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the garlic is soft. 

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover them with water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until knife tender. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a blender or food processor. Puree the potatoes with the milk and roasted garlic until just smooth, careful not to overwork the mixture. 

Transfer the mashed potatoes back to the pot and add the butter. Stir until the butter has melted completely. Add the salt and white pepper and mix the potatoes until smooth. Top with the sliced green onion.