Sunday, February 18, 2007

Creole Seasoning

Move over Zatarain's, this creole seasoning will knock your socks off!

In a large stone mortar, combine the following ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons onion powder
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
• 2 tablespoons dried sweet basil
• 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon black pepper
• 1 tablespoon white pepper
• 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon celery seed
• 5 tablespoons sweet paprika (or, if using hot paprika, omit the cayenne)

Grind with pestle until very fine. Save in air-tight container.

Chicken Creole

  • 1/4 cup EVOO + Butter

  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice

  • 1 medium red onion, small dice

  • 1 green bell pepper, small dice

  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, small dice

  • 1 poblano chili, small dice

  • 2 ribs celery

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 quarts chicken stock*

  • 24oz crushed tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, run them through a food mill)

  • 1 6-ounce cans tomato paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning**

  • 3 tablespoons Tiger Sauce (optional)

  • 6 cloves of roasted garlic

  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco or Crystal)

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon salt (wait—if your Creole seasoning contains salt you will only add adjustments at the end)

  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (to taste—if your Creole seasoning has a lot of thyme in it, you may not need much)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • 3 pounds chicken

  • Flakey biscuits (either make your own, or use Pillsbury packaged stuff)

*Making your own stock is also a great way to prepare the chicken. While it’s simmering, you can prepare the Creole sauce.

  • 1 Whole cut up fryer, including gizzards and neck pieces (you may omit the liver if you prefer)

  • 3 Carrots

  • 3 ribs celery, with tops

  • 1 onion

  • Fresh herbs: thyme, parsley, bay leaves, oregano, basil

  • Black peppercorns, cracked

Sear the chicken on all sides (you can fry the pieces in hot oil in a cast iron pan, or sear them on the BBQ grill). As the chicken sears, add it to a tall stock pot along with the carrots, celery, and onion. If you like, you can prepare the herbs in a Sachet d'épices along with the black pepper, otherwise just throw them all into the pot as well. Fill the pot with enough water to cover everything, and let simmer for at least an hour (but 4 hours would be better).

After at least an hour (but preferably 4 hours), strain the stock (reserving the chicken) into a contain and pop it into the fridge for an hour. The stock is going to contain a LOT of fat, which will be easy to skim off once it cools.

Discard the herbs and vegetables. Pull the chicken from the bone, discarding the skin and gristle.

Creole Sauce

Sweat the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic in the EVOO/butter in a large covered pot until tender, about 15 minutes.

Add one quart of stock and all of the remaining ingredients except the chicken. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes. You can prepare up to this step and keep up to a day in the fridge.

You’ll need to sear your chicken now if you did not prepare your own stock. You can use whole pieces with skin removed, or boneless chicken (thighs are recommended if you use boneless chicken). Add the chicken to the sauce, then top with uncooked biscuits. Cover and simmer an additional 45 minutes.

To serve, carefully scoop out a biscuit from the top and spoon the Chicken Creole around it. Garnish with fresh parsley.