I work with a lovely woman from White Castle, Louisiana named Aline who is a fabulous cook. As do all the best cooks from Louisiana, her recipe begins "first, you make a roux...". But, because Aline has learned over the years that some short cuts work as well as the original long cuts, she also said that I should use Tony Chachere's Instant Roux, and you know what? That stuff works great! Five minutes from powder to roux. In the recipe below, you are more than welcome to make your own roux if you are too good to use instant. Aline uses vegetable oil and I use butter in the traditional roux, you use what you like. Aline and I will use instant roux.
This is absolutely Louisiana home style comfort food at it's best. I served it over brown rice and added a side of green beans for color. I've been told that the appropriate way is to serve it over rice with a side of baked macaroni and cheese, and a frosty cold Barg's Root Beer from a bottle. Maybe I'll try that next time, but first I'll ask Aline for the proper mac and cheese recipe.
Aline's Chicken Stew
One cup prepared roux
2 pounds chicken thighs (either bone in or not as you prefer)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 T Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning for Chicken (brand preference is mine, you use what you like)
2 cups chicken stock
3 t garlic, chopped
fresh cracked pepper to taste
First, make a roux. See! I told you! You only need to make the roux first if you are not using the instant roux. If you use instant you can make it right before it is to the sauteed veggies.
Season the chicken thighs with a couple teaspoons of the Magic Seasoning and cracked pepper. Place in a baking pan that has been sprayed with your favorite cooking oil. Roast in a 350 oven for 30-45 minutes until browning but not quite done.
While the chicken is baking, saute the onions and celery in a little olive oil in a large pot, add the roux, the rest of the seasonings, the chicken, the stock, and simmer covered for 15 minutes to finish cooking the chicken - the 15 minute finish the chicken part is what you do if you used bone in chicken. At this point you would remove the chicken and take the meat off and return it to the pot if you don't want bones and skin at the table. Otherwise, just proceed with the simmering. I just used boneless chicken so all I had to do was discard the skin... which I did at this point!
You can either use prepared chicken stock, or make your own. Or, if you started cooking and realized you don't have any stock, add a couple cups of water to the pan drippings from the baked chicken and simmer a bit, adjusting flavor to your taste with some pepper and maybe some garlic or a dash of Tabasco.
Continue to simmer 45 minutes - or longer if you want the chicken to fall apart. The falling apart chicken was to die for. Just cook the chicken until it's dinner and don't fuss the time too awfully much.
If the gravy is too thin, add more roux (mix the instant roux with some of the gravy and add back to the pan so you don't have to worry about lumps). If it is too thick, add more stock. Make it as thick as you like. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
You know you have the seasonings are right when your son comes in from the garage and says "what is that? Even the garage smells great!"
Excellently and mindfully served over brown rice with a side of tender green beans.