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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cajun Chicken Pasta

 I may have multiple nationality disorder...which means I'll never get security clearance at Northrop, but I'll always be varying up the flavors in my kitchen.
Last week, I couldn't have a real meal without ginger, garlic, and fish sauce.  The week before I felt incomplete without garam masala.  Today I'm craving something all American.  Ok maybe not ALL American, more like southern gulf coast American with old territorial issues with France.
Actually, Louisiana was a territory as big as 1/3 of the actual US before being reduced to the Louisiana Purchase, and the further reduced to the state of Louisiana.
Actually, who cares. (no offense, but this is a food blog, not a historical geography blog)
Why do I always go off on tangents?
So, one of the well known flavors from this area of the globe is Cajun Spice.  It's like the garam masala of the bayou.  They use it on meat, fish, grilled veggies, probably fries and they should, because it's tasty and has a nice kick of spice.  It's a mix of paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, thyme, oregano, and salt...and I'm using it to jerk up my pasta!
Serves 6
3 chicken or turkey breasts, cubed
 2 tsp Cajun spice
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 bell peppers (mix different colors) roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups whey + 1 bouillon cube)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb (500g) linguine, cooked al dente
some fresh black pepper
some chopped parsley
some chopped goat cheese
Cajun Spice:
 4 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1.  In a mixing bowl, pour the EVOO and Cajun spice on the meat and mix well with your hands so all the pieces get some of that flavor.  Refridgerate while you chop the veggies.
2.  In a very hot heavy based pan or plancha or iron skillet, grill the chicken so it gets colored on all sides.  I did it in batches so the pan did not get overcrowded.  My pan is stone coated non stick.  If using a skillet, you may need more EVOO+butter.  Remove the meat and set aside.
3.  In the same skillet, add the onions and bells.  Toss around for 5 minutes, then set aside.
4.  In the same skillet, add the tomatoes and garlic.  Cook until tomatoes break down.
5.  Add the broth.  Bring to a boil and let simmer until reduced.. maybe 15 minutes or so.
6.  Add the cream, stir until evenly incorporated, then add the meat-veg mixture and bring to a bubble.
7.  Toss with al dente linguine.  If you like your pasta a bit softer, keep on low for a few minutes.  The flavor will infuse into the noodles for ultimate satisfaction (one thing at a time, please!)

Serve garnished with chopped parsley, pepper, and goat cheese.
And eat while listening to L.A. woman.
If you do this, and close your eyes, you will be transported into my dimension.
Warning, you may never find your way out...

The best way to describe this is peppery hot.  It's spicy, but with some nicely smoked background homey flavor.  Maybe there is no best way to describe this.  Just do it.
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