Everything I learned about the history of Cajun and Creole food, I learned from Paul Prudhomme, the Louisiana-born celebrity chef who popularized both types of Southern cuisine. I learned that Cajun food is the food of country folk who settled in the bayou lands of Southern Louisiana and kept largely to themselves. Creole food, on the other hand, is city food, specifically from New Orleans, and was greatly influenced by the many different cultures like French, Spanish, Italian, Haitian, French Canadian, Native American and African that helped to shape that city. My very favorite shrimp dish came from Prudhomme, and that made him, in my eyes, the King of Cajun cooking. This Spicy Cajun Shrimp is simply divine. I remember making it for my father, and his reaction was always the same. He would bow his head, clasp his hands in front of the bowl and just say, “Honey, this is liquid gold!” Don’t be put off by the amount of ingredients. I can only tell you that this dish is worth every bite. Perhaps the phrase that best describes Paul Prudhomme’s Spicy Cajun Shrimp has to be Ça c’est bon — That’s good! Enjoy a big bowl of Cajun comfort food this week!
It’s a One Pot Italian Wonder! That’s what my Momma’s comfort food Chicken Cacciatore recipe should be named. As a little Italian girl growing up, I just thought that it was one of those dishes that everyone ate at least once a week– just like we did–with polenta or pasta. I also assumed that all Chicken Cacciatore pretty much tasted the same. But many years later, having tasted Chicken Cacciatore in numerous restaurants, I’m going to finally go on the record and say that Momma’s is the best. You’re going to get to try it for yourself and see if you agree. Momma’s Cacciatore is simple, inexpensive, uses only one pan and the flavors are absolutely divine. It’s about as close to a fool-proof dish as you can get with the recipe I’m sharing with you today. Momma’s Chicken Cacciatore was one of the first recipes we included in our first cookbook, Momma & Me & You, and through the years we’ve tweaked it just a bit to make it even better! Here’s what Momma wrote in our cookbook:
“Almost every Italian restaurant has chicken cacciatore on the menu, and there are as many versions of the dish as there are places that serve it. Although it’s a Southern Italian specialty, it has been adopted as a treasure throughout Italy. When I introduced cacciatore on my restaurant menu back in 1957, our customer’s fell in love with the very first delicate bite! It became one of our most popular signature dishes for the celebrity crowd and locals alike.”
I find that good quality, fresh chicken enhances the taste—and that chicken thighs seem to be the most flavorful. (Flavor-filled bones make all the difference!) Pick up a nice bottle of wine, some good sour dough bread and enjoy one of my Momma’s mainstay Italian meals!
Watch my how to video here!
Here in the Southwest we love or Hatch Chile season! We’re right in the middle of the harvesting these flavorful versatile chiles that are known for their perfect balance of sweet and heat. Besides elevating the taste of enchiladas and rellenos, we also love hatch chiles in stews, soups, sauces and even smothered on burgers. In my opinion, there is no better hatch chile then when roasted or charred. It’s easy to do on an outdoor grill, in the oven, or with a grate over your gas cooktop! Just keep turning the chiles until they blister, place them in a Ziploc back while still warm and let them sweat. he charred skin will come right off and then you can scrape the seeds out and dice! While you can used canned chiles for this Chicken Enchilada Soup, the hatch chiles takes the freshness and flavor to a whole new level! Oh! And those cornmeal dumplings? The perfect topper to a this hearty Southwestern favorite!