Thursday, October 7, 2010
Shirazi Cajun Chicken
Mornings are getting nippy and the last time I walked the dog it was way past 9 pm, I felt a familiar shiver that only October can bring. This change in weather is ominous for many reasons, evenings set in early and I feel hungrier more often than usual. As much as I look forward to the festive season, I can’t help but cringe; thinking about the weight I am likely to put on and all this is happening while I am supposedly trying to lose some of it! Damn! For me that can mean only one thing, I need to make my walks brisker and for more than 40 minutes because there is no way I am compromising on food. Oh wait, there is one more thing, alternate methods of cooking, no I am not talking about steaming, which has its virtues but they are few! I am talking about baking and grilling. At some level I do this with Crockpot meals as well but simply because they start on the stove, I feel compelled to sauté whatever the hell the base ingredient is, in oil! Aftermath of growing up in an Indian kitchen!
One of my favourite meats to bake is chicken and specific cuts like wings and drumsticks. I scour for places that can give me these cuts with the skin (ok ok I know this started out as lean cooking but with me that never really happens!) and I have a bunch of basic seasonings that are the rub-ins for the meat. Throw in leeks or red onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, whatever you like a d bake it! I am planning a hot and spicy Cajun chicken this weekend. Very very easy and very very yummy! There is one thing though, especially if you are in India, you have make a budget to buy exotic spices and other imported add-ons or you will be making your pasta with cumin powder and deggi mirch for a long time!
Serves: 2 in our house but 4 in most houses!
4 chicken legs and 6 chicken wings
5 tbsp Cajun seasoning, I like a brand called Louisiana. If you need to put together this mix, then try an equal part (2 tbsp) mix of onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper powder, 3 tbsp cayenne pepper, 3 tbsp chilli powder, 1 crushed bay leaf and 1 tsp thyme (dry) and 3 tsp salt.
3 tbsp butter, melted
Mix the spices and butter in a bowl. If the chicken is skinless, then you can make cuts in the legs, if it has skin then make sure the mix gets under the skin. Roll around all the pieces in the butter and spices till it is well coated. Place the pieces in an ovenproof dish and cover with foil, cook on 250 degrees for around 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes for any excess juices to dry off, if the chicken is too dry then add another tbsp of butter. It is a good idea to give the baking dish a bit of a shake half way through so the meat moves around and cooks evenly.
I serve this chicken with cheddar mashed potatoes. Just make regular mashed potatoes, for every 4 potatoes add ½ cup of cheddar cheese with 3 tbsp of milk and 3 tbsp of butter, season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese while the potatoes are hot, so it melts well. Sauté some peas of French beans in little butter and some of the Cajun seasoning and make yourself a complete meal! Alternatively you can do my cold and hot combo thing, make a big bowl of coleslaw and serve it with nice crusty bread.
Finely shredded mix of cabbage, lettuce, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, carrots and broccoli. Mix 2 cupfuls of the veggies with 2 tbsp of mayo, 2 tsp of Cajun seasoning, 1 tsp of lemon, juice and 2 tsp of black pepper powder. Mix it all up and serve cold.