It is New Year’s Day here on the Niagara Frontier and we have a nor’easter bearing down on Buffalo from the west and this Texpatriate has decided that the best place to be is nice and warm in my loft.
My initial thought was to make a big pot of tortilla soup for myself and any ne’er do wells who might stop by to watch a little football today but I decided to do something a little different. Many of my friends here in Buffalo have not really been exposed to Cajun cooking. I had made a batch of Texas Caviar as a dip for for good luck and also made a pan for cornbread but needed something else.
I looked around the icebox…as my grandmother used to say…to see what I had around and saw that I had just the things I needed to make a maque choux. Maque choux (pronounced Mock-shoe) is identified with the culture of South Louisiana but it is really a fusion of Cajun and Native American flavors.
This is a dish that works both in the dead of a WNY winter or in the summer with fresh ingredients from the a farmers’ market.
I had not made dish this in many years but I was was looking for a vegetable dish on Christmas night so I threw it together and it worked out just fine.
While I had tasted maque choux when I lived in New Orleans, I was really exposed to it by a co-worker at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas who had worked at LSU…Geaux Tigers. His wife made it many times for different functions and it was always a big hit. I have added shrimp to this version.
Cajun Shrimp Maque Choux
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- ¼ Cup Chopped Bacon or Pancetta
- 4 Cups Corn
- 1 Cup Chopped Yellow Onions
- ½ Cup Chopped Red Bell Peppers
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Jalapeno, Italian Giardiniera or Hoagie Spread.
- 2 Tablespoons Acadiana Seasoning
- 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ½ Cup Cream
- 1 Pound Small Cooked Shrimp
Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet or saute pan then add bacon and cook over medium high heat until brown. Add the corn, onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, Acadiana Seasoning and salt. Cook, stirring until soft for 10 minutes. Add cream and shrimp. Cook for additional two (2) minutes.
NOTE: You can substitute some healthier ingredients…half-and-half, canola oil, etc. This dish can be made the day before and then re-heated. Also, I know that when you read the ingredients you might have looked twice when you saw “Hoagie Spread” listed as a substitute for jalapenos. This is a condiment that is used on sandwiches throughout the Northeast and I have found that it works great in recipes. I am working on my own recipe and will post when I finally get it right.
Since I already had cornbread made, I thought grilled cornbread would make a nice side for the maque choux. This simple technique for cornbread works well with many other dishes and is a nice change from standard dinner roll or garlic toast. Obviously, I like corn so the “double” corn dishes are fine with me.
Garlic Toasted Cornbread
- Cornbread Squares Sliced Lengthwise
- Garlic Powder
Heat iron skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of cornbread then sprinkle with garlic powder. Place cornbread butter-side down in skillet. Grill until golden brown.
Chicken Fried Buffalo Mailbag
One of the followers of Chicken Fried Buffalo asked if I would share some of my e-mail correspondence. Please send questions or comments to email@example.com or post your question on Twitter @ChkFriedBuffalo.
Why can’t I get Whataburger to deliver? I have called several times and they never bring any of the food I asked for. Thanks.
— Trae (Lubbock, Texas)
First, do not call 911 like Latreasa Goodman of Fort Pierce, Florida did to complain about McDonald’s…this might get you back in trouble with the local authorities. I suggest you either drive to Whataburger…they are open 24-hours…and place your order in person or order Chinese from Little Panda. They deliver with a $15 minimum order which should not be a problem for someone like you.
What type of beer would you pair with your Ranger Chili? Thank you…I’ll hang up and listen.
— Ben (Berwyn, Ill.)
You said in an earlier post that you come from a family of good cooks. Besides your family, who else made you want to cook?
— Dan (Frisco, Texas)
That is correct. I do come from a family of cooks so I guess its in the genes…so to speak.
Growing up in Dallas, there was a television cook named David Wade.
Now this guy was always talking of cooking with “class” and he acted like a condescending jackass. He called himself the “Rembrandt of the Kitchen” and peppered his presentation with adjectives. He wore an ascot and blazer, created his own “coat of arms” and had “B” list celebrities stop by his show in the early days.
My mother watched his shows and I was forced to watch him as well..since we only seven channels and one television..but watching David Wade cook was mesmerizing to me. In fact, I still use a couple of his recipes.
The next cook that I still think about today is Justin Wilson. Now, I knew of Justin Wilson as a Cajun comedian for many years before I knew anything about his cooking. He was southern humorist in the same mold as Jerry Clower and Jeff Foxworthy but he also wrote five Cajun cookbooks.
In 1982, WYES-TV in New Orleans began broadcasting Justin Wilson cooking shows for PBS. These shows were filled with Justin cooking the way I wanted to cook. Cooking food I wanted to eat. Justin was probably the biggest influence on me…I gha-rawn-tee! Justin Wilson passed away in 2001 at the age of 87.
What makes ham so tasty?
— James Francis (Waterloo, Iowa)
I like ham. I like bacon. I pretty much like everything related to pig. The process is what gives the ham is flavor…curing, smoking or salting. You’re welcome.
- What’s the Different Between Cajun and Creole Food? (sys-con.com)