Smothered Chicken flavored with Allspice is my contribution this week's "Weekend Herb Blogging" hosted by Kalyn herself this time around.My choice of spice this week for WHB is Allspice berries and powder.Thanks for hosting Kalyn:)
Allspice berries and Powder:
Allspice -(Pimento) is a the "dried unripe berry" of the Pimenta dioica which belongs to the family Myrtaceae. It is also know as Jamaica pepper.Spanish explorers chanced on to the Allspice plant in Jamaica in the beginning of the 16th century. The Spaniards thought the fruits look like pepper so they gave it the name of Jamaican Pepper and pimento from the word "pimienta", Spanish for peppercorn. The English name "Allspice" was given because the spice is said to have the aroma of several spices including cloves, pepper and even cinnamon and nutmeg and used often in Jamaican cuisine, specillay Jerk chicken.I love the mild flavor and taste of Allspice.(Info; Gourmetsleuth)
Some of us Indians tend to think of Allspice as "Garam Masala", which is a Indian spice powder made of several aromatic spices,also completely different from Allspice berries.The beauty of Allspice berries is they do look like Garam masala when powdered and smells great somewhat like Garam masala with mild flavor but they are NOT interchangeable in the dishes.You can't beat the flavor and the aroma our own Indian Garam masala!!;D
Southern Smothered Chicken:
You usually don't get this dish in any regular restaurant on the main street but might get it in one of those "Soul food" Mama's kitchen restaurants as I have seen in some southern towns. I love the simplicity and the great taste of this dish with a confetti of vegetables and a thickish gravy with simple spices.I added Allspice powder which gives it a wonderful flavor which may not be the traditional spice for Smothered Chicken but hey, anything to enhance the flavor if you ask me!
That said let's smother some Chicken, shall we?!:)
2 chicken breasts,slice across to make it thinner and made into 4 slices.In a plate,mix 1/2 cup plain flour,salt,pepper,1/8 tsp cayenne pd,1 tsp Allspice powder,1/2 tsp Garlic and Onion pd, and 1 tbsp dried Parsley.1 cup Celery, 1/2 cup Onion,1/2 cup carrots,all chopped to similar size,1 garlic minced, 1-2 cups Chicken stock, 1/2 tsp Allspice pd for the gravy.Cook 2 cups of rice to go with it!
How to make it:
Heat a non-stick pan with 1 tbsp butter.Mix the flour well,save about 1-2 tbsp flour for Roux and keep it aside.coat chicken fillets well and shake off excess flour and place them in the pan until reddish on both sides.Take them off on a plate.To the pan,add all the chopped veggies and Garlic,saute until cooked and little brown on the edges.
Add salt,pepper, 1/2 tsp Allspice pd,saved 1 tbsp flour,stir for a while and add 1 cup or more chicken stock.Mix well,add in sauteed chicken pieces in to the sauce and let it simmer until chicken is cooked and sauce is thicker but not very thick.Add more stock if it's too thick.Garnish with Parsley and serve with a bowl of rice.That's all, a wonderful meal is ready!
Vegetarians: Skip the chicken and add thick sliced and sauteed Potatoes!! Tastes great too.
Here is a bowl of ultimate southern comfort food; Smothered Chicken with rice: