Friday, September 2, 2011

Home Cookin': Seared Chicken with Creole Sauce & Maque Choux

Growing up in the United States and of French descent, I ate a lot of cajun and creole food. So when I was cooking for a Chilean friend of mine this past week here in Buenos Aires, it seemed like a good type of food to prepare for them...since unlike the Argentinians here, Chileans actually like food with a little spice.

The dish is fairly simple: seared chicken breast with a spicy creole sauce on a bed of brown rice, served with a side dish of maque choux.

Home Cookin': Chicken breast seared in garlic and white wine, topped with spicy butter creole sauce on shallot brown rice. Side dish of smoked BBQ maque choux.

The recipe is fairly simple. It's two chicken breasts marinated in a mixture of 5 cloves of chopped garlic, pinch of salt, black pepper, pinch of cayenne, and white wine. Sear the chicken in whole breasts and then slice to serve for presentation.

The creole sauce is very simple as well. Heat and sweat about 1/2 cup of onions and 12 cup of celery in olive oil with about 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder. Add 3 diced tomatoes, a teaspoon of hot sauce (I used chipolte Tabasco) and a pinch of sugar. Add salt and more black pepper to taste. To give it a better texture to serve as a sauce topping, I did not overcook the tomatoes as I would if making an actual creole, so the tomatoes retained more firmness. And to finish off the sauce, I added butter at the end to give it a creamier flavor.

For the maque choux, there are a number of different ways to prepare this. As I wanted a smokier BBQ flavor, I cooked onions and a BBQ chorizo the day before in a pan with 1 can of stewed tomatoes. Once it cooled, I then placed in the refrigerator overnight to get the fat to congeal. The maque choux was then simple: 2 cups worth of corn, sauteed with 1 cup red bell pepper, 1 cup green bell pepper, and 1/2 cup of diced red onion and 1/2 cup green onion bottoms sauteed in 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Then add a few drops of liquid smoke and the congealed pork fat (bacon fat is often used but I wanted the flavor of the chorizo this time) and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter and stir.

And that's it.



Even better though was the next day when left with a cup of maque choux, a cup of brown rice, and a cup of the creole sauce, and 1 uncooked chicken breast. What's a person to do? Easy, cut and sauteed the chicken in one pan (I opted for larger pieces, but cubes is a more common option), while cooking the maque choux and creole sauce in a separate pan. Add a bit more chili powder to the creole and cook. Then add the chicken, stir, and serve.

And now you have yourself a tasty Chicken & Corn Creole:
Home Cookin': Chicken & Corn Creole


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