Sunday, April 28, 2013

Going Cajun


My husband is a pasta freak.  Next to fried chicken, it's his second most requested thing to eat.  He also likes things spicy, too.  One time, when he asked for fried chicken, he told me he wanted it spicy.  Really spicy.  So I went in the kitchen and made an injection with every kind of pepper sauce and pepper spices I could find.  I think I combined at least nine different kinds of tabasco, cayenne pepper, Cholua pepper sauce, etc.  I injected his chicken and fried it up.  While eating it, he broke out into a sweat and his lips were afire.  Flames were shooting out of his ears, and I had to get the water hose to extinguish him.  He said maybe he doesn't really want spicy fried chicken again.

I really love Cajun food.  I got my first taste of it a really, really long time ago when I went to Mardi Gras.  I do like to make my own versions of things, so here's my take on lasagna Cajun style.  This Cajun Chicken Alfredo Lasagna has a kick to it, but I didn't inject it with a deadly concoction of heat.  It just has a mild to medium heat, depending on your taste, that comes from the Creole seasoning, which I use Emeril Lagasse's recipe for Creole seasoning.  You can even leave the Creole seasoning out.  The creamy alfredo sauce is dreamy, and the melted cheese on top makes it darn near perfect.

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

CAJUN CHICKEN ALFREDO LASAGNA
1 onion, chopped
1 lb andouille sausage, diced
1 lb cooked, shredded chicken
4 cloves garlic, minced
Cajun seasoning, to taste (recipe follows)
1/2 stick butter
Olive oil
1/2 C chicken stock
1 lb lasagna noodles
1 1/2 C shredded monterrey jack cheese

FOR THE SAUCE:
1/4 C butter
1/4 C flour
2 C heavy cream
1/2 to 1 C shredded parmesan cheese

Cook the lasagna noodles according to directions.

Preheat a large skillet to medium high heat.  Melt the butter in the skilet and drizzle in some olive oil.  Cook the onion until tender.  Add in the sausage and cook, browning slightly.  Add in the chicken, Creole seasoning (as much or as little as you like), chicken stock, and garlic. Cook to heat through.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a pot.  Whisk in the flour.  When combined, quickly whisk in the cream to avoid lumps.  Cook until it's thickened and bubbly.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the parmesan cheese  (as much or as little as you like depending on how thick you want the sauce) until it's melted.  You can add additional Creole seasoning to the sauce if desired.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  To assemble, layer the lasagna in a 9 x 13 pan.  Then ladle on some sauce and repeat, ending with lasagna noodles.  Put the monterrey jack cheese over the top.  Bake about 20-25 minutes or until heated through and the cheese on top is melted and lightly browned.

EMERIL LAGASSE'S CREOLE SEASONING
2 1/2 T paprika
2 T salt
2 T garlic powder
1 T black pepper
1 T onion powder
1 T cayenne
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried thyme

Mix together and store in an airtight container.

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