When it’s cold outside and you’re dreaming of traveling to warmer places, one of the easiest ways to take a mental vacation is to cook something up that reminds you of that place. Spices transform foods like ordinary chicken breasts into warm and exciting dishes like Cajun Chicken and I love scouring the Internet for different spice combinations or dishes that will transport me to cultures that I’ve never visited before.
Like Louisiana. I haven’t had the chance to go there yet, but Cajun flavors definitely appeal to me. Peppers, tomatoes, onions, celery – all good stuff! And since I’m always looking for something to top a pile of zucchini noodles, simmered meat and veg with just about any flavor profile will usually do the trick! Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. Most of them are straight from the spice cupboardThis was even better the next day so be sure to make enough for leftovers.
1 1/2 oz. bacon, chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. lard or F.O.C. (fat of choice)
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into strips
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
F.O.C., as necessary
1/2 tsp. F.O.C.
1/2 an onion, chopped about 1/2 c.
1/2 bell pepper, chopped about 1/2 c.
4 stalks of celery, about 1 c. chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1) Melt 1/4 tsp. lard in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chopped bacon with 1/8 tsp. garlic powder and cook until crisp. Set aside on paper towels.
2) While bacon is cooking, season chicken strips with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning, and 1/8 tsp. garlic powder. Brown chicken on all sides over medium-high heat, about 5-6 minutes, adding additional fat if the pan is dry. You may need to do this in batches so the chicken browns instead of steams. Set aside on a plate to catch any juices.
3) Add 1/2 tsp. fat and all the chopped veggies including the garlic to the pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until translucent and slightly soft. Sprinkle oregano, thyme, paprika, and salt over the vegetables and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return chicken to the pan, add tomatoes and broth, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower to medium or medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.
4) Simmer everything for about 35 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are tender. Return bacon to the pan, add parsley, and serve as is or over a bed of zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice.