Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chicken Sauce Piquant

I received Food & Wine Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes 2010 edition as a gift awhile back. The book features the best recipes from 25 of the best cookbooks of the year. I finally got around to taking a good look at the book and there are many recipes that look amazing that I must try but one stood out to me to try first. It was Donald Link's Chicken Sauce Piquant that is from his book Real Cajun. The bold Cajun flavors sounded really good to me and with a little modification I had all the ingredients to make the dish at home. This was particularly important because having a 2 month old makes me think twice about running to the grocery store (she usually does great but it does take more effort than before). I cut out a lot of the oil from the recipe and really don't think it was missed. I substituted chipotle peppers in adobe for a poblano and I think the chipotle pepper adds a nice smoky heat. I loved the flavors in this dish and it reheated well which is nice for another meal latter in the week. I really appreciate meals like this now that I'm a busy mamma.


1 ½ tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons chile powder

1 teaspoon paprika

One 3-to 4-pound chicken, boned and cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 3 chicken breasts and 3 thighs)

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup plus ¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 small onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

4 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon dried thyme

4 bay leaves

4 dashes of hot sauce

Steamed rice ( I used brown rice)

Thinly sliced chives for garnish


Whisk together the salt, peppers, chile powder, and paprika in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and use your hands to toss until evenly coated; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until is begins to smoke slightly. While the oil heats, toss the chicken with 1 cup of flour to coat.

Shaking off the excess flour from the chicken, transfer the pieces to the hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. Fry the chicken in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan—the chicken should be in one layer, and not on top of each other. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a deep plate, leaving the oil in the pan (if most of the oil has been absorbed and another one or two tablespoons).

Add the remaining ¼ cup flour to the oil and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes to create a medium-brown, peanut butter-colored roux. Add the onion, celery, peppers, and garlic and cook 5 minutes more. Add the chicken, tomatoes, broth, thyme, bay leaves, and hot sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a light gravy and the chicken is tender enough to shred with a fork. If sauce is not thick enough thicken with a little more flour or corn starch mixed with water. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or hot sauce as desired. Serve over rice, garnished with chives.

Recipe slightly modified from Donald Link's book Real Cajun.

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