Oooooooooh, my soooooooul! The new True Blood season premiere last night sparked something special in me. I honoured the entire day and the town of Bon Temps with a spicy feast with some Cajun-y razzamatazz. I did the same thing tonight. I have found a new favourite dish, a new delicious bread, a tasty way to eat peas, and somehow did not frighten an entire family. If you’re going to make these recipes, I should tell you that they taste good with some Balfa Brothers music on the side. Fo’riz. I will also add, that Bill Compton was looking particularly attractive last night on True Blood – the crawling out of the dirt scene. Cheeeeeeeowtch.
I dedicate this bread to Jon’s brother, Sean. He, who made my heart asplode while he offered some of this bread, proudly, to his friend, boasting and deeming it, “kick-ass.” It’s got all kinds of spices in it, and the flavours each have their own distinct little note while you eat it. Good stuff. Feelin’ good in the hood.
2 1/4 tsp active-dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups tepid water (116-120 F-ish)
5 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/4 tsp celery seed
1 1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp onion powder (I recommend a small onion instead though – I used powder to oblige Jon’s dad)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp fresh minced garlic
1 Tbsp bacon fat (or oil, but, I love bacon fat. Yall know.)
In a large bowl, mix yeast and sugar. Add water and let sit five minutes or so till it foams up.
Mix after it’s foamed up and dissolved, then add all spices and cornmeal (all remaining ingredients except bacon fat and flour.) Mix well, then work in flour, 1 cup at a time. You can use a mixer for this, with the paddle beater at first, then the dough hook after 3 cups of flour or so. Otherwise, turn dough out and knead for 5 minutes, or turn mixer on low speed with dough hook for 3 or 4 minutes.
In large bowl, pour in bacon fat, then spread it around the bowl and all over the dough (I use the dough like a mop!). Cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise, until doubled. Then, punch dough down, divide into two pieces, and roll each out into a long rectangle – 14 X 10 ” should do it. Then roll them up lengthwise, seal edges. On a baking sheet, sprinkle some cornmeal, and then for the bread, cover with plastic wrap or tea towel, and continue to let rise till doubled. About 3/4 way through rising, make some slits diagonally (see picture). Cover again and let rise to completion. Have ready a 350 F oven, with a large dish of water on the bottom rack (this keeps the oven moist and helps for a crunchy crust). Uncover, brush the beaten egg over it, and place bread inside, baking for 30 minutes, or till bread sounds hollow when tapped!
– Particularly good with garlic butter!
Chicken Sauce Piquant with Petit Pois
Alright, I am particularly excited about this. I wanted to make it a lot more spicy, but had some capsicum pansies in the house. Needless to say, I doused it with somewhere between 1/8 – 1/4 cup hot sauce. Yeaaaaaaaaaaah! Wait, AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!!
This was so good. I don’t even know what else to tell you. Oh, okay, wait. Yes I do. You don’t have to use chicken in this! You can use whatever you’ve got. Sauce Piquant is good with er’thing. Use catfish! Use frog legs! Use alligator! Crawfish! Horsemeat! I don’t care!
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup each diced onions, celery and bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes, small dice
5 cloves garlic
1 small chili pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups water or chicken stock
3 cups tomato sauce (well, 680 mL, but screw it)
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup of your favourite house blend of Cajun or Creole spices. Basically everything in the swamp bread. You know. I recommend Tony Chachere’s if you’re going store-bought.
2 – 2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
10 chicken thighs, or whatever you want. 10 chicken thighs’ worth!
In a large pot or dutch oven (preferably – for the iron/roux-browning equation), melt butter and add flour. Stir constantly until your roux turns the colour of peanut butter, or just a little bit darker. Then, add vegetables and garlic, cooking and stirring often, for about 7 minutes or so, until they soften. Add spices, bay leaf, water (chicken stock) and tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Taste and add more s & p if needed. Bring to a slow boil, add chicken (or horse meat), cover and let simmer over low heat about 1 1/2 hours. Uncover, and continue to simmer over low for another half hour. Chicken will be falling apart somewhat. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Then, get your rice ready (I didn’t tell you about it yet, but you should serve this over rice).
Also, if you noticed, there are some delectable, angelic little peas served alongside the sauce piquant. I was going to make one of my favourites, maque choux (fried corn, basically, with the trinity). However, I could not find any corn in this godforsaken house! DOMAGE!!! Who cares. We don’t got no corn, so we gonna use peas! Jon’s brother is a fiend for peas, so there we go. I’m going to take the liberty to call them “Petit Pois,” even though it doesn’t match up 100% with the actual dish called, “Petit Pois.”
Anyhow, they’re very, very simple to put together.
In a skillet, melt 2 tsp bacon fat.
Add 1/4 cup diced onion (I used a purple onion)
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 clove minced garlic
Saute that until veggies just start to soften, but don’t get mushy. Throw in 2 cups of fresh or frozen green peas, salt and pepper, all those nice Cajun-y spices, about 1 Tbsp water, and cook about 4-5 minutes, till peas are tender and cooked through. That’s it!
And so folks, that’s all for now. I hope you have enjoyed Megohm’s Swamp Tours. L’aissez les bon temps roullez!