I like to mix things up to keep weekday meals interesting. Taking one culture’s ingredients and combining it with cooking techniques and presentation of another culture’s dishes. This time, I am combining Cajun ingredients with a Mexican taco.
I am seasoning my chicken with my Cajun spice blend. Instead of the usual chili peppers, I am using the “holy trinity” of Louisiana cooking—bell peppers, celery, and onions—as a vegetable meat stretcher. Tacos, of course, call for a salsa, but it should be Cajun as well.
Karl’s Cajun Chicken Tacos
2 Tbs. Karl’s Cajun Spice Blend (mild)
1 Tbs. Spanish paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. black pepper, fresh cracked
¼ tsp. Indian red pepper power
1 Tbs. butter
1 lb. chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
½ cup green bell pepper, diced
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
¾ cup flat-leafed parsley
1. Mix the spices together in a small bowl or with a few pulses of a spice grinder.
Note: My original Cajun spice blend was quite fiery—Indian chili powder includes the seeds and is much hotter than many other chili powders. I have toned it down for this dish, but if you would like it spicier, feel free to go wild with the chili.
2. Cut the chicken into small pieces and place it in a mixing bowl.
Tip: I cut the chicken into ¼ x ¼ x ½ bars.
Note: It helps to half freeze the chicken to firm it up and make it easier to cut evenly.
3. Marinate the chicken, in the refrigerator, for half an hour.
4. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over a medium high heat.
5. Stir fry the chicken until it is starting to brown in spots.
Note: I actually made this dish several weeks ago, before I developed using the “patty technique” for frying chicken bits. If I make this dish, again I will form the spiced chicken into a large patty and fry both sides—before breaking it into smaller pieces—so I get a god bit of flavorful browning without over cooking the chicken.
6. Remove the chicken to a bowl and add the peppers, celery and onions.
Tip: Add a bit more butter if necessary.
7. Sauté the vegetables until soft, about 5 minutes.
8. While the vegetables are sautéing, coarsely chop the leafy parts of the parsley.
Note: About one half a cup.
9. Mince the parsley steams.
Note: About one quarter of a cup.
10. Add the stems to the vegetables and continue sautéing for another two minutes.
11. Return the chicken to the pan and stir to mix and reheat the chicken.
12. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and serve with the chopped parsley, flat bread, Cajun salsa, and Louisiana hot sauce on the side.
Note: Since this was more of a Western dish—rather than Mexican—corn tortillas did not seem to fit here. There are, however, no traditional Cajun equivalents to tortillas . Mediterranean flat breads seemed, to me, to be the best substitute.