Creole and Cajun food are my happy. I love New Orleans - the easy way of life, the amazing food, the incredible people, and being able to walk around with a bev in hand on the street.
I found this recipe a few years ago and have tweaked it to make it my own. I'd never heard of it, but found it in a Creole cookbook of my dad's that looked like it had been used way more than once. That's always a good sign!
Chicken Piquante (sometimes called Chicken Sauce Piquante) is basically a super flavorful, somewhat spicy dish served best over rice. The essentials are, of course, the holy trinity: onion, pepper, and celery. You must also get a good roux going so that your sauce is thick and delectable.
1½ tbs. salt
2 tsp. ground
½ tsp. ground
2 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. chile
1 tsp. paprika
3 – 4 lbs.
chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
¾ cup vegetable
1 cup all-purpose
1 small yellow onion,
3 celery stalks,
1 small poblano
chile, seeded and diced
1 tbs. finely
5 plum tomatoes,
2 cups canned
5 cups chicken
1 tbs. dried
4 bay leaves
4 dashes of hot
scallions, for garnish
the salt, peppers, chile powder, and paprika in a large bowl. Add the chicken
pieces and use your hands to toss until evenly coated; set aside.
Heat the oil in a
large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke
slightly. While the oil heats, toss the chicken with flour to coat.
Shaking off the
excess flour from the chicken, transfer the pieces to the hot oil and fry until
golden brown on all sides. Fry the chicken in two batches so you don’t over
crowd the pan – the chicken should be in one layer, and not on top of each
other. Reserve the leftover flour. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken
to a deep plate, leaving the oil in the pan.
Add the remaining flour to
the oil and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes to create a
medium-brown, peanut butter-colored roux. Add the onion, celery, poblano, and
garlic and cook 5 minutes more. Add the chicken, tomatoes, broth, thyme, bay
leaves, and hot sauce. Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring
occasionally, until thickened to a light gravy and the chicken is tender enough
to shred with a fork.
Garnish with scallions. Serve over steamed rice with crusty bread. And a hurricane.