Check out our healthy Southern Cajun Smothered Chicken, a dish where the vibrancy of Cajun seasoning meets the wholesomeness of home cooking. Imagine succulent pan-fried chicken, tenderly bathed in a delicious gravy that's as comforting as it is nourishing. This isn't just another Cajun smothered chicken; our favorite Southern comfort food that is healthy too!
Our journey in the kitchen has been all about reinventing beloved meals with clean ingredients, without compromising on taste. This recipe, a family favorite, is a shining example of that philosophy. It brings together basic ingredients like bell peppers, onions, tender chicken, and a blend of Cajun Creole seasoning to create a great recipe that's quick and easy; perfect for Sunday dinner or any occasion that calls for a hearty, soulful meal.
We crafted a way to make this delicious smothered dish with a creamy gravy that doesn't require heavy cream or a flour mixture like traditional recipes, which makes this dairy-free and gluten-free. We simply use the juices from the chicken, avocado oil, chicken broth, and non-GMO corn starch to thicken it for this rich and natural gravy that make this dish the ultimate comfort meal.
For those who share our love for Cajun seasoning, we invite you to explore our other tantalizing creations like Cajun Shrimp Tacos, Spicy Cajun Shrimp Bowl, Creamy Cajun Salmon Alfredo, and our Blackened Cajun Salmon. Each dish is a celebration of the rich and diverse flavors that define Cajun cooking and southern food.
First things first, as you embark on any new recipe, we encourage you to set healthy intentions. The simple act of intention-setting can transform your cooking and eating experience, making each meal a step towards a more vibrant and healthy lifestyle. If you're curious to learn more, be sure to check out our free guide on setting intentions and using affirmations.
Join us in creating this ultimate comfort food – a southern smothered chicken recipe that's both an homage to Cajun dishes and a beacon of clean, mindful eating. Serve it with a side of veggies for a meal that satisfies the whole family. With every bite of this creamy Cajun sauce, you'll taste the love and care that goes into every one of our healthy comfort food recipes. Let's bring the joy of southern comfort to your table with this delightful, healthy twist on a classic.
Skinless Chicken Breast: Thinly sliced for tenderness, this is the star of our recipe. Using organic, air-chilled chicken ensures the highest quality, free from added water or preservatives, and provides a rich source of lean protein. For convenience, you can tenderize or slice the chicken at home.
Avocado Oil: A heart-healthy oil that adds a subtle, buttery flavor and is perfect for high-heat cooking. It's a great choice for searing the chicken, ensuring a golden-brown finish while contributing to the overall richness of the dish.
Sea Salt: Enhances the natural flavors of the chicken and vegetables. Opt for unrefined sea salt to benefit from its trace minerals and unprocessed purity.
Black Pepper: Adds a subtle heat and depth to the dish. Freshly ground black pepper can offer more pronounced flavor and aromatic qualities than pre-ground varieties.
Cajun Creole Seasoning: The essence of this dish. Look for organic options or brands like Spice Hunter Cajun Creole to avoid additives. Alternatively, if you cannot find a suitable option at your local grocery store, making your own blend is suitable and allows for customization to your taste preferences.
Onion: A base flavor in many soul food recipes, onions do not necessarily need to be organic since the outer layer is removed. They add a natural sweetness and are packed with antioxidants.
Organic Red Bell Pepper: Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, organic bell peppers ensure you're getting the best quality without pesticides. Their vibrant color and sweet flavor complement the spicy notes of the dish.
Organic Green Bell Pepper: Similar to red bell peppers, green bell peppers offer a slightly more bitter flavor, contributing to the complexity of the dish's taste profile.
Organic Garlic: A key ingredient in Cajun cooking, garlic enhances the recipe with its robust flavor. Using organic garlic ensures the purest taste and health benefits.
Bone Broth: A nutrient-rich liquid that adds depth to the homemade gravy. Organic bone broth is preferred for its health benefits, but you can also use organic chicken stock or vegetable broth. Homemade versions are even better.
Organic Corn Starch: Used as a thickener for the gravy. Opting for non-GMO and organic corn starch ensures a cleaner product. Arrowroot powder is an excellent alternative for those seeking a different option.
Parsley: Fresh parsley adds a burst of color and a fresh, herbaceous note to the dish. If unavailable, dried parsley can be used as a substitute.
Each ingredient in this Southern Cajun Smothered Chicken recipe has been thoughtfully chosen for its contribution to both flavor and health, ensuring that every bite is as nourishing as it is delicious. Enjoy the melding of rich, soulful flavors in this comforting yet health-conscious dish.
See recipe card for quantities.
Gently massage the chicken breasts with a blend of salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning, ensuring the seasonings are well distributed.
Pour avocado oil into a large skillet and warm it over medium-high heat. Place the seasoned chicken in the hot oil, cooking each piece until it turns golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Once browned, transfer the chicken pieces to a separate plate.
Using the same skillet, Sauté onions, minced garlic, and bell peppers over medium heat until they become soft and fragrant, which should take around 5 minutes.
Pour bone broth into the skillet, mingling it with the sautéed vegetables. Let it come to a gentle simmer. Mix in cornstarch to slightly thicken the sauce, stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps.
Place the browned chicken back into the skillet. Cover and let the chicken cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
Finally, sprinkle parsley over the dish for garnish. Serve this delightful creation hot, perhaps accompanied by a side of sautéed asparagus and/or rice, as per your preference.
Hint: Remember, for an even cook, opt for thinly sliced chicken breasts or use a meat tenderizer on each piece of chicken.
Substitutions and Variations
Arrowroot Instead of Cornstarch: For those who prefer a different thickener, arrowroot is a fantastic alternative to cornstarch. It works similarly in thickening the sauce and is ideal for those looking for a corn-free option.
Different Types of Broth: While the recipe calls for bone broth, feel free to experiment with chicken stock or vegetable broth. Each type of broth offers a unique flavor profile, and using homemade broth can enhance the dish even further.
Homemade Cajun Seasoning: Create your own Cajun seasoning blend for a personalized touch. Mix together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, thyme, and a bay leaf. Adjust the quantities to suit your taste preference, especially the cayenne pepper for heat level.
Chicken Thighs Instead of Breasts: For a richer flavor, substitute chicken breasts with chicken thighs. Thighs tend to be juicier and more forgiving in terms of cooking time, making them a great alternative for this dish.
Using the Holy Trinity: Embrace the essence of Creole cooking by using the holy trinity of celery, onion, and bell peppers. This classic combination is foundational in many Creole dishes and adds depth and a traditional flavor profile to the recipe.
Vegetable Swaps: Feel free to add or substitute other vegetables like mushrooms or zucchini for a different twist.
Herb Infusion: Incorporate fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary for an aromatic lift.
These variations and substitutions allow you to tailor the recipe to your taste preferences and dietary needs, making the Healthy Southern Cajun Smothered Chicken a versatile dish for everyone to enjoy.
Proper storage of the Cajun Smothered Chicken is essential for maintaining its flavor and ensuring food safety. Here are some guidelines to help you store any leftovers effectively:
Refrigeration: Store the cooled chicken in an airtight container. It's best to use shallow containers to ensure even cooling. The chicken can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. Be sure to check for freshness before consuming.
Freezing: If you want to extend the shelf life of the dish, freezing is a great option. Freeze in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Properly stored, the dish can last up to 2-3 months in the freezer. Remember to label the containers with the date to keep track.
Reheating: When ready to eat, the chicken can be reheated in the oven or on the stovetop. If reheating from frozen, it’s best to thaw the dish in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Ensure that the chicken is heated through to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safety.
A key element to achieving the perfect consistency of the sauce in your Cajun Smothered Chicken lies in the correct use of cornstarch. Cornstarch acts as a thickener, transforming your broth and juices from the chicken and vegetables into a rich, creamy gravy.
The trick is to mix the cornstarch with a small amount of cold water before adding it to the hot skillet. This step, known as making a "slurry," prevents the cornstarch from clumping and ensures a smooth, evenly thickened sauce.
Additionally, it's important to add the cornstarch mixture slowly to the simmering sauce, stirring constantly.
This gradual incorporation allows you to control the thickness of the sauce and avoid it becoming too thick or gloppy. Remember, the sauce will continue to thicken slightly as it cools, so aim for a slightly looser consistency than your desired final result.
By mastering the use of cornstarch, you can elevate your Cajun Smothered Chicken with a perfectly velvety gravy that complements the rich flavors of the dish.
Smothered chicken is a classic Southern dish typically made of seasoned chicken breasts that are browned and then simmered in a rich, savory gravy. The gravy is usually created from the chicken's cooking juices, enriched with ingredients like onions, bell peppers, garlic, and spices. In our Southern Cajun Smothered Chicken Recipe, we use a blend of Cajun seasonings, bone broth, and corn starch for the gravy, along with healthy fats like avocado oil for cooking.
Smothered chicken has its roots in Southern United States cuisine. It's a staple of soul food and has been a part of Southern culinary tradition for generations. The term "smothered" refers to the cooking method where the chicken is first seared or browned and then cooked slowly in a sauce or gravy, ensuring the meat is tender and flavorful. This technique has African and European influences and is synonymous with comfort food in Southern cooking.
Keeping chicken breast moist during cooking involves a few key steps:
Proper Seasoning: Season the chicken well before cooking. This not only adds flavor but also helps to retain moisture.
Searing: Sear the chicken breasts over medium heat to lock in the juices. This creates a barrier that helps keep the moisture inside the meat.
Even Thickness: Pound the chicken to an even thickness for uniform cooking. Thinner slices or evenly tenderized pieces cook more consistently, reducing the risk of drying out.
Avoid Overcooking: Overcooked chicken can become dry, so it’s important to cook it just until it reaches the safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Using a meat thermometer can help you gauge this accurately.
Simmering: In our recipe, the process of simmering the chicken in a flavorful broth after searing helps to keep it moist and tender, as the liquid provides a moist cooking environment.
Looking for other recipes? Try these:
We love to add wild rice or cauliflower rice, as well as steamed green beans, collard greens, or sautèd spinach. Roasted root vegetables also pair well!
More Holistic Nutrition Tips
Southern Cajun Smothered Chicken Recipe (GF and Dairy-free)
- Meat Tenderizer (optional)
- Sharp Knife
- Measuring Spoons and Cups
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula
- Mixing Bowls
- 2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts organic and thin sliced
- 2 TB Avocado Oil
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- ½ teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
- 2 TB Cajun Seasoning
- 1 Onion Thinly Sliced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper Thinly Sliced
- 1 Green Bell Pepper Thinly Sliced
- 3 Garlic Cloves Minced
- 2 cups Bone Broth
- 1 TB Corn Starch non-GMO
- Parsley for garnish
- Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning and rub it in gently.
- Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook until golden brown on both sides (4-5 minutes per side). Remove the chicken and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Saute until tender (approx 5 min).
- Add bone broth to the skillet with the vegetables. Bring to a simmer. Stir in cornstarch to thicken the sauce slightly.
- Return the chicken to the skillet. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley. Serve hot
As you savor the rich flavors of this Cajun Smothered Chicken, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Did the homemade Cajun seasoning bring a new level of zest to your kitchen? Or perhaps you experimented with different broth types or vegetable combinations? Your experiences and variations are what make cooking such a shared joy, and I can't wait to hear about them.
Please feel free to share your stories, tips, or questions in the comments below. Your insights not only inspire me but also help our community of home chefs grow and thrive in their culinary adventures.
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Until next time, happy cooking, and be well,