My first introduction to a Louisiana staple was at camp. Every summer the Louisiana girls would unpack, pull out a giant can of Tony’s and set it in the center of our cabin’s dining hall table. We ate it on everything – eggs, popcorn, baked potatoes – I truly thought it was the best thing I had ever had and still eat it on everything.
In college, I became obsessed with Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtator chips. They didn’t sell them in Tennessee and so my mom would ship them to me a case at a time. I swear I lived on Zapp’s and Dr. Pepper during my sophomore year.
And I love crawfish. I won’t touch seafood of any kind with a ten foot pole but give me a big batch of mud bugs and I can go to town!
1 lb boneless chicken breast, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook until done. Remove chicken and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium-low, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon for about 15 minutes until the roux becomes a dark caramel color.
Add onions, celery and bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more. The mixture will be a little thick with the roux sticking to the vegetables.
Turn heat back up to medium-high and add chicken broth to deglaze pan. It is very important to scrape up all the roux from the bottom of the pan. Cook mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the broth thickens.
Add tomatoes, chicken and spices to broth mixture and reduce to a simmer for about 20 -30 minutes before serving.
Chicken Creole is best served with scoop of rice and some crusty bread to dip in the sauce. If you’d like it with a little more heat just add more cayenne.
If you’d prefer the sauce a bit thinner, add some water or broth.