Smothered Chicken with Apple Cider Gravy
This chicken dish takes a little time to cook, but most of it is inactive time – meaning that while dinner’s doing its thing in the oven, you can spend time with your family. While the chicken cooks, it makes its own gravy, so all you have to do is ladle it over some rice or mashed potatoes and serve a vegetable on the side for a cozy and comforting meal.
3-4 lbs. bone-in chicken pieces (approximately two each of breasts, thighs, legs, and wings)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 sprigs fresh thyme OR 2 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups apple cider
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and season the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper.
2. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces, skin-side-down, and cook until golden brown. You may need to work in batches to keep from overcrowding the pan. Flip the browned chicken pieces over and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.
3. Remove the browned chicken pieces and set aside.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onions and celery to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften.
5. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Add the thyme and apple cider, stirring well to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom.
7. Return the chicken to the Dutch oven and cover.
8. Put the covered Dutch oven into the preheated 375 degree oven and cook for 45 minutes, until the chicken is very tender and the gravy has thickened. If you used fresh thyme, remove the stems before serving.