Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cajun Chicken Carter

I like a little bit of spice, but not to the point of eating habanero peppers. Sweating and eating at the same time is just is not my thing.

I was in the mood for Cajun but did not want all the cayenne heat that it usually has.  I found this recipe for Chicken Carter that foot the bill.  It is flavorful but on the mild side.

The cookbook, Fork in the Road, offers up recipes that are a bit healthier than traditional Cajun cuisine. The first thing I noticed was that this recipe had quite a number of spices in it but it did not include cayenne.  Also, the roux (typically made with oil) is replaced with flour that is browned in a pan.  While being more healthy, the absence of roux makes this dish easier to prepare.

Cajun Chicken Carter
courtesy of  A Fork in the Road Cookbook

1 whole chicken ( skin removed and cut up but skip this for the wings)
3 cups cooked long grain rice
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups sliced, chopped mushrooms
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbs flour

Seasoning Ingredients
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp dried majoram
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika

After all your prep work of chopping the vegetables is done, take out a heavy, non-stick skillet and preheat over high heat (350 degrees) for about 3 minutes.  Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to get out the lumps.  Once the flour starts to brown, turn down the heat to low-stirring constantly.  In about 4 minutes, you should have a toasty, brown looking flour.  It should be about the same hue as chocolate milk. Flour has a tendency to reach a point where it can burn easily, so you must be careful in this process.  Remove pan from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk all the seasoning together so it is evenly dispersed.  Then take out a 5 quart pot (preferably non stick)and place over 350 degree heat to for about 4 minutes.

For the seasoning, measure out half and rub on all the chicken pieces..  Place the chicken in the pot to brown.  Let each side cook for about 3 minutes without moving and then turn.  Remove and set aside chicken.

Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the pot and scrape up all the brown bits from the side and bottom of pan.  Measure out half of the chopped onions and place in the pot.  Then add the celery, garlic and the rest of the seasoning mix.  Continue to stir a few times while the mixture is cooking.  Cook until  there is no more liquid in the pan. That should take about 4 minutes.

Pour in another 1/2 cup of the stock and let it come to a boil.  Add the browned flour and keep stirring until the flour turns into a paste.  Then cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot.  Add another 1/2 cup of stock and stir until there are not any clumps sitting on the bottom inside of the pot.

Add the rest of the vegetables (tomatoes, mushrooms, remaining onions) and the last half cup of the chicken stock.  Mix together.  Lastly, put the chicken pieces back in the pot and cover.  Bring the mixture to a boil, cooking for at least 4 minutes.  Reduce heat and simmer for an another 15-25 minutes.  Once done, plate servings by putting chicken pieces on a bed of rice and ladle with the vegetables and sauce.