Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Creole Chicken with Tomato Cream Sauce

Here's another great chicken (breast) recipe. Another recipe from Phillis Carey's cookbook, that I've talked about before. She's just such a wizard with chicken. This could be a "regular" night dinner, although I think it should be elevated to "company" status. It isn't exactly on the low cal side - it has some heavy cream in the sauce - and it isn't exactly quick, either. Fortunately I had two helpers (Dana, my daughter, and her daughter, 10-year old Taylor). They're all visiting us for the week (my daughter - and her two children - come to join her husband who's been with us for a couple of months while he works on a project here, locally). So, chicken seemed like the best choice for dinner. Chicken breasts were defrosted, and I found I had everything on hand to make these. It's nice when you do a dinner like that and you don't have to make a trip to the grocery store.

Cajun and Creole are two different things, just in case you didn't know. The cuisines are different, and although I'm not from the south (I'm actually a California native), we've visited enough times that I've learned not to mention to the N'awlins' folks that they might appear similar to the unknowing. Since I couldn't remember what the difference was, I looked it up on Wikipedia:

  • According to an expression of the region, Cajuns live to eat, not eat to live. Outside Louisiana the distinctions between Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisine have been blurred. However, Creole dishes tend to be more sophisticated continental cuisine using local produce. Cajun food is rural, more seasoned, sometimes spicy, and tends to be more hearty. Many well-known Cajun dishes were originally centered on wild game, rice and other local ingredients.

Likely the lines are a bit blurred in this recipe as well. Whatever it is, and whatever its roots, it's just gosh-darned tasty. I'd serve this to guests anytime, although I'd make double the sauce. There just never seems to be enough sauce to go around. And I like to serve this with pasta on the side, and the sauce goes just nicely with the pasta. I happened to have served it with green beans - the Green Beans with Garlic and Olive Oil that I shared a couple of months ago on the blog. This time I had some mushrooms on hand, so I added them to the Creole sauce. They weren't in the original recipe, so you decide whether you want to do that. The chicken breasts were pounded to an even thickness, then sort of stuffed with a cream cheese-green onion - Parmesan mixture, dipped in egg and bread crumbs (I used Panko), then baked for half an hour. Meanwhile you make the creole sauce and boil up some pasta. And whip up a bright green vegetable, perhaps a salad, and you're done.

Cajun Chicken Breasts with Creole Sauce
Recipe: Phillis Carey, cooking instructor
Servings: 4
4 pieces chicken breast, no skin, no bone, R-T-C
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup green onion -- chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese -- freshly grated
1 whole egg
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup onion -- finely diced
1/4 cup celery -- finely diced
1/4 cup green pepper -- finely diced
1 1/2 cups mushrooms -- sliced
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup dry vermouth
14 1/2 ounces diced tomatoes -- canned, drained
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon oregano -- fresh, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Trim chicken and pound to an even 1/4 inch thickness (between two sheets of plastic wrap). Season with salt and pepper. Combine the cream cheese with green onions and Parmesan cheese. Divide cheese into quarters and place one lump on each chicken breast. Fold in sides and roll up the chicken to enclose the cheese.
2. Whisk egg to combine in a bowl. Toss breadcrumbs with Cajun seasoning in another bowl. Toss breadcrumbs with Cajun spice in another bowl. Roll chicken in egg and then in bread crumbs to coat well. Transfer chicken to a shallow baking dish, seam side down and drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cooked through. Do not overcook.
3. Sauce: melt butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, mushrooms and bell pepper. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in Cajun spice and sugar, then add dry vermouth. Bring to a boil, then stir in tomatoes, hot sauce and cream and bring to a simmer. Cook until mixture reduces slightly and thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in fresh herbs. Season to taste for salt, pepper and hot sauce. May cook ahead up to this point, then reheat when ready to serve. Spoon sauce over chicken.
NOTES : If you have fresh tomatoes, use them rather than canned ones.
Serving Ideas : Definitely serve this with either rice or linguine, because you want the sauce to mix with the carb. You may want to make more sauce, as it's barely enough for the chicken servings.
Per Serving: 808 Calories; 44g Fat (49.4% calories from fat); 65g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 304mg Cholesterol; 1051mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 8 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 7 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
To print a PDF recipe, click title at top.

No comments: