Mike

Dipping Sauce

There is a great fast food chain that started in Baton Rouge called Raising Cane’s. Their specialty and only item is fried chicken strips.  Their best kept secret is their dipping sauce. Although I have not been able to duplicate their recipe, here is my version. I find it goes really well with chicken strips, fried green tomatoes and fried alligator. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 ketchup
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Creole seasoning
  • ½ tsp fresh cracked pepper

Method

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk it well it to make sure everything is blended together. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. This sauce develops it’s best taste when the ingredients have had some time swap flavors with each other in the refrigerator.

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Crawfish Boil Seconds – Crawfish Omelet

One of my favorite parts of our crawfish boils is the anticipation of having leftover crawfish. If you are lucky, there will be enough leftovers for a second meal. They make a great morning after breakfast. A tradition at our house are crawfish omelets. If you have been to a crawfish boil, the ingredients, such as crawfish, potatoes, corn and sausage, soak up the wonderful Cajun spices. The leftovers give you a second taste of the feast.

This is a basic omelet, but the types of ingredients are limited only by your taste buds and imagination.

Crawfish Omelet

10 to 15 crawfish tails peeled and deveined
two eggs
spray canola oil
1 tbsp water
1 strip of bacon fried and chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup shredded cheese (your favorite) I like sharp cheddar
dash of creole seasoning

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Put two eggs in a mixing cup, add a tablespoon of water and a dash of seasoning. Coat a 6 inch non-stick frying pan with the canola oil spray. Heat the pan to med-high. While the pan is heating stir the egg mixture well with a fork. You can use an electric mixture also, but I find that to be one extra thing to clean. Mixing well creates bubbles and water creates steam bubbles, both help fluff up the omelet during the cooking process. When the pan is hot, pour in the egg mixture. When the bottom half starts to firm up add the bacon and cut the heat back to medium-low. Add the crawfish and cheese to a half side of the omelet when the mixture begins firming up around the bacon.

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With only a small amount of liquid remaining on top gently fold the side without the crawfish over the crawfish. It is important to have a small amount of liquid egg when you make the fold so the omelet will seal itself up – a trick I learned from a omelet chef at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. Once liquid egg is no longer seeping out (about a minute or two) gently remove a place on a plate. Let it rest 3 to 5 minutes then enjoy.

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Note – Don’t pile on too many crawfish until you get the hang of making the fold. If the omelet tears b don’t panic, Plan B offers great crawfish, bacon, and cheese scrambled eggs.

What extra ingredients would you add to your omelet?


Smoked Chicken and Andouille Etouffee

I am pretty much an outdoors type person which means I spend less time in my kitchen during the summer. I still have to eat, so if I am not grilling I tend to prepare dishes that take less to prepare.  Also, during the summer I tend to use a lighter or thinner gravy or sauce. I plan to do a series of dishes that take less preparation time or allow you to spend cooking time outside.

I saw a segment on the Food Network for a similar recipe several months ago. Typically, some type of Louisiana shellfish (crawfish, shrimp or crab) is used to make etouffee. Guy Fieri was visiting a restaurant somewhere in the heartlands that featured some type of chicken etouffee. I suspect the dish was created due to the lack of fresh seafood.  I created this version recently and thought it was good enough to share with y’all. The base ingredients for etouffee are usually onion, bell pepper, roux and broth. I have more complex bases for etouffee, but remember it’s summer so I am keeping this one simple. There are a thousands of base recipes, so if you have a favorite use it.

I happen to be a fan of smoke flavor, so I added a few chicken thighs and andouille sausage to the smoker this weekend. I usually load up the smoker with meat when I fire it up. I figure why not use all the space, it takes the same amount of heat and smoke.

Ingredients

1 pound of smoked boneless skinless chicken thighs (I would have preferred bone and skin on for a little more flavor, but the store was out)
1 pound of smoked andouille sausage chopped (regular link smoked sausage will do if andouille is not available)
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of water
1-2 tbsp Creole seasoning
1 stick butter
½ cup of powdered roux
4 bay leaves
1 cup rice uncooked

Method

Season the chicken with creole seasoning. Smoke or grill the chicken thighs until done. (This can be cooked ahead of time or as I mentioned, use leftovers).  Leave 6 thighs whole and chop up the rest into bite size pieces.

For the rice, bring 1 cup of water, 1 cup of the chicken stock, two bay leaves and few dashes of creole seasoning to a boil.  Add the rice, when it comes back to a boil stir, cover and set burner to lowest setting.  Remove from heat when the water is gone.

Melt half the butter in a saucepan or high sided skillet. I like a black iron pot. Add the onions and bell pepper and sauté until clear, add the andouille.  When the andouille is heated up and begins to brown, mix the powdered roux into the  pot. Once all is mixed well, add the remaining butter.  When the butter has melted add the remaining 3 cups of broth one cup at a time. Stir well as you add the broth. Add the two bay leaves. Let this slow simmer at least 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the 6 whole thighs to the etouffee. Let the chicken and etouffee swap flavors for 5 to 10 minutes.

Presentation

Spoon a serving of rice into a bowl.  Place a whole chicken thigh on top of the rice, then spoon the etouffee over the thigh and rice.

Serves 6

Smoked Chicken and Andouille Etouffee


Shrimp In Tasso/Andouille Cream Sauce over Pasta

I am spending this rainy Saturday morning in my hotel room at the Isle Casino in Biloxi, MS.  From my window I can see a shrimp boat selling shrimp to customers dockside.  That’s about as fresh as you can get.  I hope one is there tomorrow when I check out.  The sight made me think of one my favorite shrimp recipes.

Ingredients

  • I package of pasta – angle hair, bowtie or thin spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound of tasso diced
  • 1 pound Andouille sliced.
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning (Tony’s) or my creole seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or half n half)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced roasted tomatoes
  • 1  roasted red pepper julienned and chopped 1 – 2 “ long
  • 1 1/2 cup shrimp stock (sub clam juice)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup white wine

Directions

Set a large pot of water including one cup of shrimp stock to a boil and add the salt. Place the pasta in the pot and stir (to keep from sticking together) until the water returns to a boil. Cook until tender, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, heat a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Once the butter has melted, season the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of creole seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and add the shrimp to the pan. Sear the shrimp just enough to brown on both sides, about 2 minutes, you want them almost done.  Remove from the pan and set aside. I do this with most of my shrimp dishes.  The shrimp flavor remains in the glaze from the sear, but you avoid overcooking the shrimp.

Add the tasso and andouille cook until browned.

Add the onions to the pan and sauté until the onions become clear and lightly caramelized. Add the garlic to the pan Slowly add the wine to deglaze the pot. Add the cream, remaining seasoning, salt and pepper to the pan and bring to a slight boil. Add the tomatoes and red pepper.  Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half.

Return the shrimp to the pan, and add pasta and the reserved cooking water to the pan and cook, tossing to incorporate for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and add cheese, parsley and basil and toss to blend. Serve immediately.


Cajun Jambalaya Recipe

I thought this would be appropriate for my first recipe post since it was the first recipe I started cooking for groups. 

Mike’s Cajun Jambalaya

A black iron pot is best for this recipe, but any heavy type pot with a lid will do. 

You can use your favorite meat or whatever meat you have available in any combination that suites your fancy.  If you use crawfish, shrimp or other seafood put them in after you add the rice and the water returns to a boil.  You can use just about any cut of meat, for the tougher cuts cook longer before you add the rice and water.  Wild game such as duck & venison work well.

 Any of the ingredients and amounts can be altered to your personal taste.  

Ingredients 

Cooking oil – Just enough to cover bottom of pan

1/2 lb sausage (smoked pork)

1/2 lb pork

1/2 lb chicken thighs

Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste

1 med onion chopped

1 bell pepper chopped

salt, pepper, red (cayenne) pepper – to your taste.  I’d use a tbsp each salt & pepper, tsp red pepper

1 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

3 cups of water or beef broth (I use water then add a couple spoonfuls of beef broth granules)

1.5  cups of rice – converted rice such as Uncle Ben’s works best.  If you use regular rice rinse it.

1 cup chopped green onions

½ cup parsley

The first step is to brown the meat.  The browner the better, because the juices caramelizing on the bottom of the pot will give the end product the rich brown color.  Heat the oil till it is hot, but not smoking.  Add the sausage and brown it well.  Add the pork and then lastly the chicken.  Once the pork and chicken is brown add the onions, bell pepper and sauté until the onions become clear.  Let this cook until about half of the natural juices steam/cook out.  Stir in the salt/pepper/red pepper.  Add the cream of mushroom soup.  Stir this well and cook till meat begins to tenderize. Add the water or beef broth.  (Note-you could eliminate the water and use 3 cups of beef broth.)  Add the hot sauce.  Add the rice, green onion, parsley and stir well. Bring to a boil and cover.  Now you have choice for the next step.  You can finish on the stove top or in a 350 degree oven.

For the stove top, reduce the heat to very low and cook for exactly 30 mins.. Do not peak. 

For the oven method (my preferred), place in a 350 degree oven for exactly 30 mins. Do not peak. 

After 30 mins. remove the lid and stir well.  Taste, if the rice is still kinda crunchy you can stir in some water and cover for five more minutes.

If liquid is still present when you first open lid continue stir well and let it stand for 5 to 10 mins. I find when using the over method there is nearly always a layer of liquid on top.