Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cajun Style Chicken Spaghetti

A favorite family supper when I was growing up, was Chicken Spaghetti.  I know when ya think of Cajun food, this aint the first thing ya think of. Cajuns are resourceful, and when I was a kid, we had chickens, and pasta was very cheap.  Tomatoes and peppers, etc. were from our yard, too, so this meal was a family favorite and very cheap to make.  The area I grew up in, this dish was often brought to church dinners, family gatherings and such.  My mother made her version that was very popular among friends and family, and was often requested.  Here is how she made it.
The recipe:
                              Cajun-Style (wheat and gluten free) Chicken Spaghetti

3-4 lbs of chicken (we used thighs)
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins is gluten free)
1 tablespoon Crystal Hot Sauce (most any 'GF' hot sauce will do)
2 tablespoons of oil
3 cups chopped onions
1/2 lb of smoked sausage
1- 7 oz. can mushroom pieces, drained
1- 10 oz. can original Rotel diced tomato with green chilies (do not drain)
1  can Hunts diced tomato (do not drain)
1/2 cup of Heinz catsup
1 tablespoon of Steen's Cane Syrup
1 bell pepper chopped
6 garlic cloves smashed and chopped
     (That's all for the sauce. For the spaghetti part, we used about a pound of Gluten Free Pasta. Schar's was the choice of the day.)
   In a bowl, season the chicken with the Cajun seasoning, Crystal hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Brown the chicken in the oil till it is browned on both sides and about half-way cooked, for around 15 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pot, then add the onions and sausage to the pot and brown them for 10 minutes or so till they tender and translucent.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, and both cans of tomatoes and cook them down till they have completely reduced and begin to caramelize, stirring frequently.  Add approximately a quart of water to build the sauce, then add 1/2 cup ketchup and a tablespoon Steen's Cane Syrup, and the bell pepper. At this point, return the chicken to the pot and simmer for half an hour while you prepare the pasta. 
    We used 1 lb of Schar Gluten free pasta. (One package, plus enough of another pkg. to make about a lb.)  This is one of the best pastas we have found so far.  We cooked it in water until it was half done,  then drained it and added it to the sauce, where it could continue cooking.  
   This is far and above my favorite chicken pasta dish, and Peggy says I have forever ruined her and she feels guilty leaving her Yankee spaghetti recipe on the sidelines. 
Here is our instructional video, in case ya get kinda confused about the products, etc.
I hope yall enjoy this as much as we do.  Let us know.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cappy's Cajun-Style Gluten Free Chicken Etouffee

   Etouffee is an old Cajun sauce made from cooking down lots of onions into a rich golden brown gravy.  It can be done with most any meat and lends itself well to seafood and chicken.  The done-in-a-hurry restaurant version is usually thickened with flour or cornstarch as a shortcut, and is not traditional.  Our version is slow-cooked like Cajun country folks have been doing for hundreds of years.  It is simple and naturally Gluten Free so it fits Peg's diet requirements, with no changes needed.  The Recipe:

         Cajun Style Chicken Etouffee

1 tablespoon of oil (or meat drippin's)
2 or 3 lbs of chicken thighs (they were on sale)
1 tablespoon of Cajun Seasoning
1 tablespoon Crystal hot sauce (most any hot sauce will do)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins is gluten free)
1/2 lb smoked sausage sliced
6-8 cups of coarse chopped onion
1 small can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained 
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup of green onion greens

   Season the chicken thighs with the Cajun seasoning, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Place it in a hot saucepan with the oil in it.  Sear the chicken on both sides, let cook for about 10 minutes and remove the chicken from the pot.  Put the onions and sausage in the pot and let them 'cook down', stirring often, and deglazing if necessary, till the onions have reduced and turned a golden brown color and the oil has separated.
    Replace the chicken to the pot, add enough water to cover it, stir and let simmer for an hour.  Uncover and skim any free oil from the surface of the etouffee, then add the bell pepper and green onion greens.
     Let simmer for another half hour and serve over cooked white rice.  This delicious dish is a Cajun country staple, and this is how they did it the "ole-fashioned' way.   
Now that ya know what it looks like, here is a Youtube video we made for yall to show how you, too can make this "slap yo mama good" Cajun wheat and gluten free dish.  Give this a try, and as always, we invite all comments, questions and criticisms.