Mike

Fried Green Tomatoes

No, I am not speaking of the movie back in the early 1990’s. There is such a thing as fried green tomatoes. Un-ripened green tomatoes work best for this recipe because they have less juice and are firmer than a ripe tomato. This is so easy to make, that I am putting it into my Easy Summer Series category.  

Last weekend I was frying up some fish. My garden has an overabundance of tomatoes now, so I decided to pick a few and fry them up. I already had everything I needed, hot grease, fish fry mix and hungry mouths. The only thing I added was a milk and egg mixture to  bind the mix to the tomatoes. I use dry mix for my fish. The tomatoes I used for this recipe were my Creole and Super Steak varieties. That doesn’t really matter, any green tomato will do especially since they have not reached their full flavor at this point.

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Season with your favorite seasoning blend or my Creole Seasoning.

One at a time, mix each tomato into a bowl of dry fish fry mix, then dip into the milk egg mixture, and back into the dry mix.

Once all the tomato slices are battered, deep fry in 350 degree oil. Cook until they float. Also, do not crowd. Give them room to swim. They should be golden brown. (You can also pan fry in a skillet with 1/2 inch of oil and flip them once.)

My dipping sauce is good with the fried green tomatoes.


Beef Stroganoff – Easy Summer Series

This is another simplified recipe for an easy summer meal. The egg noodles took longer to prepare than the stroganoff. We are going for easy here, so there are shortcuts that may sacrifice some flavor. Just remember, I’d rather be doing something outside instead of spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Egg Noodles – enough for 4 servings
1 pound of beef stew meat (ground meat would work)
1 cup sour cream (I use light)
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp canola oil

Salt and pepper the stew meat while the canola oil is heating in a skillet. Brown the stew meat, then stir in the flour well. Deglaze the skillet with the wine. Add the garlic and onion powder. Stir in the sour cream. Continue to stir while letting it simmer for several minutes to allow flour and sour cream to interact and thicken. Serve over the egg noodles.

Serves 4


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