Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cajun Cooking

I got up this morning and got ready for school. Walked in and the secretary looked at me. "You're not scheduled today." I think I'm the one who made the error, but no problem. I dropped by the library and did a couple hours volunteer work. Stopped by the grocery store for a bell pepper. FINALLY! I spotted some mirlitons. Huh? You ask. In our stores they are called by the Spanish name...Chayotes...a squash. And the best that I can spell the pronunciation of the Cajun French mirliton is: mur' lay tawn Be sure to say it with a Cajun French accent. ;o)

When I got my Cajun cookbooks, I noticed some recipes for mirlitons. I asked my Cajun co-worker and Jerry told me what they were. Anyway,
I purchased a couple along with the bell pepper and headed home. When I got home, Sam was in the shop. I called him and told him that lunch would be ready about 12:30. Of course I had to explain what I'd done.

Chicken Sauce Piquante

Mirliton Au Gratin
Orange stuff ;o)

Chicken Sauce Piquante
3 or 4 lb. hen, cut in pieces
cooking oil
2 small onions, chopped

1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 buds garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large can tomato paste
1 can mushrooms, medium size
salt, red pepper, black pepper
1/2 cup wine
Fry pieces of chicken in oil until brown. Remove chicken from pot. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and celery to oil and cook until transparent. Add other ingredients and chicken. Add seasoning. Cook over medium heat until tender, will take from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with rice.

Just two of us, so I reduced the amount of ingredients. I intended to use some thighs I purchased, but they were in the freezer, and these two boneless skinless chicken breasts were in the refrigerator.
I put all the vegetables in the oil except for the fresh mushrooms. I'm not much on canned mushrooms. After the vegetables were almost transparent, I added the mushrooms.

Jonathan gave me this seasoning (from New Iberia, Louisiana) when he visited a loooong time ago it seems. It is very good on poultry.
The chicken piquante is simmering on the back burner. Time for the mirlitons.

is a mirliton.

Mirliton Au Gratin

medium white sauce
buttered crumbs
salted water
grated Cheddar cheese

Wash mirliton and cut into cubes. Boil in one inch of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 or 15 minutes. Drain. Place in buttered baking dish. Cover with white sauce and sprinkle generously with grated cheese and some buttered crumbs. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake at this temperature for about 15 minutes.

I kid you not. That is the recipe as printed in the cookbook. I HATED recipes like that when I was learning to cook. At least this one doesn't say "bake in a moderate oven until done." Sheesh.

This is what I did:

2 mirlitons. Sam asked about peeling them but the recipe didn't say to peel so I didn't. I tasted it raw...very, very light squash flavor.

Medium White Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk

Melt butter in a saute pan, whisk in flour and cook a few minutes so the white sauce won't taste like raw flour. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened. (Okay...this is called "white sauce." I'm from Texas and call this gravy.) Add a little salt and pepper. Some people don't like the black pepper flakes in this and use white pepper. I don't have white pepper.

I added about 1/2 cup grated cheese to the sauce.

I haven't made bread lately and have NO bread crumbs. So I crushed a handful of saltine crackers. It didn't brown, but everything was bubbling, so I pulled it out of the oven. Ready to
plate.Ready to serve.
The recipes came from this cookbook:
Oh...Almost forgot the Orange Stuff.

1 package of orange Jell-o (Regular or sugar-free) Do NOT make Jell-o
1 carton Cool-Whip (whichever variety of plain that you like: regular, fat-free, sugar-free)
About 1/4 pound cottage cheese
2 cans Mandarin oranges, drained

Pour the dry Jell-o over the Cool-Whip and stir until the Jell-o is incorporated into the Cool Whip. Spoon in the cottage cheese and orange slices. Stir. Refrigerate.


Kar said...

What time is dinner being served? Sounds yummy!


elsie123 said...

So, did you like the mirliton? Interesting, never heard of it.

Penny said...

I'm dying, here. That looks and sounds DELICIOUS!

Ducky said...

I live off of that seasoning. I really livens up Hamburger Helper too. :P