Monday, July 2, 2012

Blackened Cajun Chicken (Pasta Dish)

"Blackened" chicken makes a home for itself on a bed of fettuccine, surrounded with sauteed spinach and colorful oven-dried, slow-roasted tomatoes.   

This "recipe" is mostly a how-to for making the chicken:  the day I made this dish I was a MACHINE in the kitchen, putting this supper together as fast as I could while neglecting to write down the full recipe (except for the chicken bit).  So I won't "wing-it" here and pretend like I remember the exact amounts of the ingredients I used for the pasta dish...that might set someone up for a dinner disaster. 

Blackened chicken, in this case, is really not black at all.  I didn't feel like smoking up my kitchen today as I seem to have an inadvertent knack for doing that often enough as it is.  

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and started off by brushing them with canola oil and then patting them generously with the Cajun spice mix that I made (see below).

I heated my big cast-iron skillet to VERY HOT.  But here's where I "cheated" by not allowing my kitchen to get smoky...I heated it with a smidge of canola oil in the skillet instead of heating it dry.

After sizzling the chicken about 5 minutes on each side,

I transferred the chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet and baked the meat for about 12 minutes at 375 degrees.  (You can also save yourself a pan to wash by putting the cast-iron skillet directly in the oven.)

A myriad of possibilities exist for what you can do with this chicken, from slicing it and putting it in a green salad with black beans, corn, red onions, and a lime vinaigrette, to arranging it in a wrap, in a sandwich, or, like I did, in a pasta dish.
In addition to the chicken, this entree contains my oven-dried slow-roasted grape tomatoes, sauteed spinach, fresh parsley and fettuchine, all tossed together with a generous amount of olive oil and sea salt.

If you make it, I sure hope you enjoy it!

Cajun "Blackened" Chicken
Serves 4

2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1/8 cup canola oil plus 2 teaspoons for the skillet
1/3 cup Cajun Seasonings (see recipe below)

Brush one side of the chicken with half of the canol oil, sprinkle with half the Cajun seasoning, and press the seasoning onto the chicken breasts, using your hand or the back of a spoon.  Turn the chicken over and repeat the seasoning process.

Heat a cast-iron skillet (and 2 teaspoons of the oil) until it is very hot.  Using long kitchen tongs, carefully place the chicken into the pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes without moving the chicken.  Flip the chicken and let it cook for 5 additional minutes on the other side. You can transfer the iron pan directly to the oven, or line a baking sheet with foil and move the meat to the pan and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes, until the center is cooked through.

Cajun Spice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 cup dried thyme
1/8 cup dried oregano
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/8 cup dried sweet basil
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/8 cup salt

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well blended (or blend thoroughly with a whisk.)  Store in a covered jar in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

Chicken recipe from:  The Whole Foods Market:  A Guide to Natural Foods with 350 Recipes


Julie B said...

This was delicious! Thank you so much for sharing. My family loved it!