Mike

Chargrilled Crawfish Stuffed Chicken Breast

Here’s another great recipe to grill up when you are entertaining guests.  It’s fairly simple and can be prepared – up to the grilling part – ahead of time.  It’s also a great use for leftovers from yesterday’s crawfish boil. The base of the stuffing is cream cheese, but anything can be substituted for or added with the crawfish, such as shrimp, crab, sausage, mushrooms, spinach or other vegetables. I rarely name brands, but the Saute Express is a real flavor adder and I believe worth trying.  This recipe could also be cooked in your oven. I have not tried this so I can’t give specifics.  I’d try 20 -30 minutes at 375 – 400 degrees and broil for the last five minutes.

Stuffed chicken

Ingredients

8 Chicken Breast – Boneless Skinless
1 square Land O Lakes Garlic & Herb Sauté Express (or a couple tbsp butter)
1 pound Louisiana peeled crawfish tails (stay away from the cheaper Chinese stuff)
1 package of cream cheese
2 slices of bacon per breast
1 cup of chopped green onions
Creole seasoning

Method
 
Ahead of time set out the cream cheese to allow it to soften at room temp.

Partially cook the bacon until it’s limp and set aside. I cheated and did it in the microwave for two minutes.

Melt the Sauté Express in a skillet then add the crawfish tails. Stir for a couple of minutes then add the creamed cheese. Once the cream cheese has melted and combined with the crawfish, stir in the green onions and set aside. You want this to cool enough to jell so it’s easier to use as a stuffing.   
 
Flatten out the chicken breast until they are about ¼” thick. (I cheated and bought thin sliced chicken breast.) Season the chicken breast with Creole Seasoning. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the center of the breast and roll it up. I used about two tablespoons on each.  Use just enough so it’s not squirting out and making a mess. You’ll get the hang of this on about the 8th one.  Next roll the bacon around the outside of the breast and secure with two toothpicks. 

Cook on a hot charcoal or gas grill.  I took mine off when they reached 165 degrees.


Chicken Fricassee

As a child, chicken fricassee was one my favorite dishes my mom would to make for dinner. Her recipe is lost, but I recall her making it in pressure cooker and the ingredients included salt pork and sour cream. Mom grew up in North Mississippi and her recipe seems consistent with recipes outside of South Louisiana. Most definitions describe fricassee as a French stew of various meats with a white gravy though most recipes use chicken. The creole and Cajun versions use a roux as a base, so they tend to be darker than other versions.

Although a fricassee may take up the 3 hours to complete most of the work is done in the beginning. It’s great for a day when you have indoor activities such as laundry or house cleaning on the schedule. I have played around with different recipes over the years and recently took the taste I liked from several and came up with this recipe. I think adding white wine makes a fricassee so much better. You can use boneless chicken, but i find using chicken meat with the bone and skin adds more flavors to the dish.  When done, the chicken is so tender the bone and skin is easily removed if you wish.

Ingredients:

6 large chicken thighs with bone and skin
1 cup bacon drippings or vegetable oil
1 cup flour
2 cups onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp creole seasoning to taste
Salt to taste
2 Tsp dried Thyme
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Method:

Heat the oil in large heavy pot.  While the oil is heating, season the thighs well with the creole seasoning and salt and dredge in the flour.  Shake off the excess flour and set aside. When the oil is hot (a little flour sprinkled in the oil should start simmering) brown the chicken on both sides and set aside. Do several batches instead of crowding the pot. You don’t need to cook the thighs all the way at this point.

Once all the chicken is removed drain off about half the oil, try not to loose any of chicken/flour remnants. Gradually whisk in the remainder of the flour until the oil/flour mixture is thick. (This should be about ¾ cup. If not add more.) Whisk the roux until it is the color of peanut butter.  Add the onions and bell pepper and continue to stir well into the roux and until the onions are clear.  Add about a half tbsp of the creole seasoning and garlic as the onions and bell peppers cook.

Add the wine and stir well to avoid lumps and clearing any matter stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Once this is mixed well, simmer for about 5 minutes.  Increase the heat and slowly add the chicken stock.  Again whisking well to avoid lumps.  Bring the mixture to full boil to allow the roux to do its thing which is achieving its thickening power. (It should look thick but still flow off of a spoon.)  Add the bay leaf, thyme, and Worcestershire Sauce.  Taste and the remaining creole seasoning and salt (if needed) to your taste.  Now return the chicken to the pot. It should be mostly submerged.  If not add water to mostly cover the chicken.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 1 ½ hours or until nearly falling of the bone.  Stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the pot.  For a thicker sauce remove the lid for the last 30 minutes.

Serve over rice.


Mike’s Creole Seasoning

Mike’s Creole Seasoning

I like to use my own blends of seasoning when cooking.  I feel it gives me more control over the flavor. I have used commercial brands of seasoning such as Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning or Slap Your Mama, but I prefer homemade.  To me, Tony’s has too much salt and well, I just don’t like the name of the other one.  Both are good, so use them if you like. 

This recipe is what I use as a base seasoning for most dishes, including meats, salads and vegetables.  I like it because the flavors of the different spices seem to change with each bite. I can adjust it to the type of dish I am cooking. If I am cooking Italian, I will add traditional Italian spices such as garlic, oregano, and basil.  For Mexican dishes, I’ll add spices such as chili powder, cummin, and spanish oregano.

Here’s my recipe: 

1/2 cup Kosher Salt

1/3 cup Paprika (Smoked Paprika if you can find it)

1/4 cup granulated garlic

1/4 cup onion powder

1/3 cup black pepper

3 tbsp white pepper

2 tbsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp celery salt

2 tbsp dried thyme

2 tbsp dried basil

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp MSG (optional)

1/2 tbsp allspice

Combine all ingredients. Makes about 14 ounces