Friday, May 1, 2009

Chicken and corn maque choux

chicken and corn maque choux, adapted from The Complete Cooking Light CookbookMay is one of my favorite months... not for any one specific reason, but because of a conglomeration of fabulous things (flowers blooming, the beginning of softball season, sunny days, the first festivals, the opening of the farmers' markets, etc.). So, for May's cookbook I've decided to choose a good all-around book, The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook. Before I collected a ton of cookbooks and began reading food blogs like a fiend, was one of my primary resources for recipes. This book combines some of the best ones from the website.

After picking the new book, I began to leaf through to see what looked interesting. One recipe screamed out at me, and I knew this had to be the first of the month. I've used this book a lot in the past, and I don't know how I overlooked it before. The story begins with a trip to New Orleans with my parents when I was 12. One night we ate at a cajun restaurant (if I remember correctly, it was Paul Prudhomme's restaurant K-Paul's). I liked the sound of the shrimp and corn maque choux, but I had no idea how to pronounce this for the waitress. We had fun trying to figure it out, and Dad, jokingly, decided that it should be pronounced ma-kweek-a-chex. The waitress finally informed us that it's really mock-shoe (which sounds far too much like a sneeze, if you ask me). I don't remember much about the actual dish, but this discussion is one of my most distinct memories about that trip (that and drinking red hots from the Tabasco factory out of the bottle).

Chicken and corn maque choux (adapted from "The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook")

2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 slice of bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
kernels from 3 ears of corn
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup whole milk
pinch of salt

Mix first 7 ingredients and put 1 Tbsp of mixture on a plate (reserve the rest). Set plate aside. Render bacon fat in large skillet over medium-high heat. When bacon is crispy, remove pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside. Dredge chicken in spice mixture on plate and add to bacon fat in skillet. Brown chicken on each side (about 2 min per side) and set aside. Add red pepper and onion to skillet and let cook on medium heat for 5 min. Stir in corn, tomato, milk, salt, and the reserved paprika mixture, and let simmer uncovered for 10 min. Add chicken pieces back to skillet and let cook uncovered for 25 min or until done, turning once half-way through cooking. Remove chicken, shred, and return to skillet. Sprinkle bacon on top. Serves 2-3.

I love cajun food, and this was great. The spices are perfect, and the pairing of chicken to veggies was exactly what I was looking for. My only problem is that I didn't have enough bacon fat, and some of the corn mixture was slightly burnt on the bottom by the time the chicken was done. It wasn't a huge problem, and I preferred to think of it as blackened :). After years of thinking about this dish, I'm glad that I wasn't disappointed! But, I'll still call it ma-kweek-a-chex :)


potlikker said...

This looks great and I will try it soon. I have clipped a few shoe [I mean chex] recipes recently too, though I had forgotten about it at the restaurant. The restaurant was actually Prudhomme's Cajun Cafe in Carencro [Karen Crow]. Owned by Enola, Paul's sister. We have a cookbook of hers which I think I actually gave to you when you had a burst of interest in cooking at about that time. We did notice K-Paul's while walking around NO, but never ate there.

Katie said...

Yeah, I wasn't sure about the K-Paul's thing, but I did remember that it was a Prudhomme one. I remember that you guys have her cookbook - I've looked through it many times, and should definitely use some of the recipes. Give this one a shot - I think you'll like it!

potlikker said...

I tried to make it exactly like your recipe and it was unanimously a SMASH HIT.

Katie said...

I'm glad you liked it!