One dish that was very much a part of my Mississippi childhood was dubbed smothered chicken. I suppose it could be regarded as soul food, basic, easy to prepare; in my books, it belongs in the “comfort” category, a food that gives solace to the spirit when you dine on it.
In its most basic form, it consists of cooking a chicken that has been split down the back and opened up, as for broiling. You cook it skin side down in a black iron skillet with a plate on top. The plate is weighted down and it is this method that contributes the name smothered. The chicken is turned over and continues to cook in a flour-thickened gravy until it is exceptionally tender, the meat almost falling from the bones.
© 1987 Craig Claiborne estate. All rights reserved.