Posted by: Ernest Barteldes | October 31, 2015

New Orleans Food plus Chicken Sauce Piquant


by Ernest Barteldes

I have only been to New Orleans once – I was motivated to do it in 2008 after interviewing a string of musicians from the area who kept encouraging me to visit their cities because I would never find better music or food in America. One of my interviewees (I think it was saxophonist Donald Harrison) mentioned that the city had so much in common with Salvador in Brazil after he’d been there, so that piqued my curiosity enough for Renata and I to take a long weekend to finally check it out.

Of course I was immensely impressed by the music I heard just by walking into a bar – I mean, I am a good enough bassist, but those guys “playing for tips” were infinitely better than I was at the time. Music was part of their blood – whatever natural talent I might have means nothing compared to that. When sat down to eat, I realized I was somewhere between Heaven and Hell — in a good way.

Before I ever went there, the food of the area always fascinated me – I remember reading a recipe for Jambalaya on the long-deleted English Teaching Forum an trying it out and attempting to perfect it, and when I tasted it in Louisiana I realized I had been doing a very shitty job trying.

What I realized about Southern food was it wasn’t about the technique. Instead, it was about the feeling you put into the cooking. I remember being “challenged” by a show promoter who said she’d learned to cook in a restaurant in New Orleans and she was “definitely better” than I was. I never even bothered to take on her idiotic wager – just making it personal would have been a mistake.

I have been thinking of heading to New Orleans again, but the opportunity has not come since that first time – life tends to get in the way, and so do airport taxes. A flight to Miami tends to be more expensive than another one to say, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic because American airports tend to charge airlines fees that completely nuts compared to terminals around the world. The way I found that out was when I saw the breakdown of the cost of a flight I took to Poland last year – a good chunck of the cost of my ticket was basically the fees charged by JFK on my return flight.  No wonder a flight between Krakow and Warsaw costs about a fraction of what one to La Guardia to Cleveland (which is about the same distance) goes for.

Back to topic, I honestly feel that New Orleans food is the ultimate comfort food.  Whatever dish you have, it just takes you to this wonderful place. Sure, most of the dishes are not exactly healthy – a recent survey revealed that Louisiana was among the unhealthiest states in the Union (Vermont was the healthiest) but sometime you do need that moment when food sings to you.

Recipe: Chicken Sauce Piquant

source: The Best of Everything, Cook’s Magazine.

Ingredients

  • 2 -3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 lbs cut up chicken pieces
  • 3 tablespoons creole seasoning
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup bacon grease
  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • kosher salt and black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup green onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • hot cooked rice

Directions

  1. Dredge chicken pieces in Creole seasonings and 1/2 cup flour and brown in the oil, preferably in a cast iron pan.
  2. Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Keep the heat going under your frying pan and add the bacon grease.
  4. When grease is hot, slowly whisk in the flour.
  5. Stir constantly until the roux turns the color of caramel, the darker the better. About 30 minutes.
  6. Carefully add the onion, bell pepper, celery and stir, about 5 minutes until all is incorporated and vegetables are soft.
  7. Reduce heat to medium.
  8. Page 2 of 2Bayou Style Chicken Sauce Piquante (cont.)
  9. Directions
  10. Add Chicken broth, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper; cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  11. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is done.
  12. Taste and reseason.
  13. Add green onion and parsley.
  14. Cover, reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.
  15. nstantly until the roux turns the color of caramel, the darker the better. About 30 minutes.
  16. Carefully add the onion, bell pepper, celery and stir, about 5 minutes until all is incorporated and vegetables are soft.
  17. Reduce heat to medium. Add Chicken broth, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper; cover and cook for 10 minutes.add the chicken and cook until the chicken is done.Taste and reseason.  Add green onion and parsley.Cover, reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: