One of the most amazing things about American food is all of the influences our cuisines have had over the centuries. We have so many very unique regional cuisines and techniques, brought to us by people from all over the world, and then adapted to work best in their new environment. Cajun food came about by this adaptive process.
I know that Cajun food is French somehow, but how are they connected?
Cajun cuisine developed from the Acadian people, who were French settlers in present-day Canada. These people were deported by the British after they conquered Acadia in 1710. The displaced Acadians settled in the rural areas of Louisiana. Of course, the climate in Louisiana is very, very different than the one the Acadians left behind. They did not have access to the ingredients they were accustomed to in Canada, so they had to get creative. Cajun cuisine is the resulting blend of French cuisine using the indigenous ingredients of Louisiana.
In the spirit of adapting French techniques to your tastes and circumstances, I present to you Creamy Cajun Chicken Fricassee. A fricassee is typically seared chicken braised in a white wine cream sauce. I, however, do not drink and choose not to use alcohol in my cooking, so my fricassee is seared chicken and veggies cooked in cream with white wine vinegar sprinkled over the whole affair at the end. This dish is a pleasure to cook, only uses one pot and a couple of plates, and is sooooooo delicious.
- First, brine your chicken in Cajun seasoning. Place your boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and add them to a gallon sized resealable plastic bag with 3 teaspoons of your favorite Cajun seasoning. I use Tony Chachere’s, which I know is technically a Creole seasoning, but it’s delicious and I think the Cajuns would approve. Leave the chicken marinating in the seasoning as long as you can, up to 24 hours. I usually forget the night before, so I end up only marinating for a couple of hours. It works great.
- Fun fact- Cajun cuisine comes from outside New Orleans. Creole cuisine was developed in New Orleans, mostly by the servants and people who were enslaved to French settlers. Creole cuisine has many influences including African, Spanish, and Native American. For more info see this article.
- Chop your veggies!
- Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Sear the chicken breasts on both sides. Remove from pan. Do the same with the sausages.
- Sautee the carrots, onion, bell pepper and jalapeno with a little butter until the onions are translucent. Be sure to scrape the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Grate in 4 garlic cloves
- Add in corn, and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Nestle the chicken back into the pan among the veggies.
- Add 1 and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low to simmer.
- Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered, and then 10 additional minutes, with a lid on, but slid slightly to the side so your sauce can keep reducing.
- Right before serving, add your sausage to the top, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar evenly over the dish, and garnish with Italian parsley. The vinegar is critical, so please do not skip it! It completely transforms the sauce from pretty good to something really, really special. Acid enhances seasoning and brings out an entirely new dimension of flavor.
- Serve over rice and enjoy!
Creamy Cajun Chicken Fricassee is a marvel of weeknight cookery. It’s comforting, rich, has a little kick to it, and the cream sauce is so satisfying. Add the ingredients to your shopping list this week and get cooking! You will not be disappointed.
Will you please share this recipe with anyone you think would enjoy it? Also, when you make this dish, please tag me in your photos! It’s so awesome to see all of your amazing creations.
Until next time, fellow test cooks!
Creamy Cajun Chicken Fricassee
- 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts you can either leave them whole or cut them in half, depending on how you're serving the dish.
- 2-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces on the bias (diagonal) I used a smoked beef sausage, because pork and my digestive system aren't very good friends, but andouille is a more traditional choice.
- 1 yellow onion, medium dice diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, medium dice
- 1 cup carrot, medium dice
- 1 jalapeño pepper, small dice as small as you can dice it
- 3 ears of corn, with the kernels cut off about a cup
- 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely diced
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil for the pan
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter for cooking the veggies
- 1/2 lime for squeezing over the veggies
- 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- cajun seasoning to taste
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley for garnish
- cooked white rice for serving
- Place the chicken in a gallon size resealable plastic bag, and sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons of you Cajun seasoning over the top.
- Squeeze most of the air out of the bag, then squish the chicken around to distribute the seasoning evenly. Let sit in the fridge overnight, or on the counter while you prepare the veggies.
- When ready to cook, heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Preheat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the canola oil and sear the chicken on both sides until a nice crust forms, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan (I place the chicken on a plate until I add it back in).
- Sear the sausage on both sides. Remove from pan.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of butter to the pan, and scrape up any tasty brown bits. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and carrots to the pan. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add the corn and garlic to the pan. Sauté for about 3 minutes, until the corn is bright yellow.
- Squeeze half of a lime over the vegetables.
- Season with salt, Cajun seasoning and pepper to taste. This means that you should add a little of each seasoning, taste the veggies, then add more of whichever seasonings will make the vegetables taste bright and alive, not dull and flat. I wish I could give you an exact amount, but it depends on individual tastes.
- Nestle the chicken back into the pan among the vegetables.
- Pour in the cream.
- Bring the cream to a slight boil, then immediately turn the heat down to low.
- Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
- Put a lid on the pan, slightly off center, and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Evenly sprinkle the white wine vinegar over the entire dish.
- Taste the sauce and re-season if needed.
- Add the seared sausage to the top of the dish.
- Garnish with parsley.
- Serve over rice.