Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cajun Chicken Ragu – An Old and Misspelled Mardi Gras Classic

Many years ago, at a small neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco, a young cook got to do his very first menu “special.” It featured pulled chicken, Cajun sausage, and peppers stewed in a rich, spicy gravy; and was served over grilled French bread. 

Not sure what to call it, the inexperienced, but handsome cook described it as a, “sort of Cajun ragout of chicken,” which made it on to the specials board as, “Cajun Chicken Ragu.”

Yes, I was that young cook, and the following recipe is pretty close to that historic dish. While I did enjoy it over the grilled bread back in the day, a gravy this awesome really deserves to be served over a big pile of rice. These are the kind of things you learn as you mature. That, and make sure you spell out your specials to the disinterested waiter writing the chalkboard.

Anyway, since I’m not going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras (I’m allergic to feathers and drunk tourists), I thought I’d dust off this old, personal favorite, which while not totally authentic, certainly celebrates those fabulous Cajun/Creole flavors.

As I mentioned in the video, this works with any kind of chicken, raw or cooked. As long as you simmer the gravy to an appropriate thickness, and make sure your meats are fully cooked, and heated through, you should be in bon shape. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 large portions of Cajun Chicken Ragu:
6 slices of bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
large pinch of salt
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 cups cold chicken broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
8 oz andouille sausage, sliced
2 or 3 cups pulled chicken meat
1/4 cup chopped green onions, plus more to garnish
*check for salt and seasoning, and adjust at the end!

View the complete recipe