Great cookbook, or greatest cookbook? The latest reprint is available from Amazon.
I have made the following recipe from this cookbook literally more than a hundred times. Here’s what the Times Picayune had to say about it, when it is made properly:
You will then have a dish for which any old Creole would go on foot from Carrollton to the Barracks, a distance of fifteen miles, merely to get a taste of.
And now this is the modern version, that doesn’t require two whole chickens or two large onions. It’s for two people.
1 Chicken Breast
1/2 Sweet Pepper
1 Clove Garlic
1 Tablespoon Peanut Oil
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Pint of Tomatoes
White Wine for de-glazing
Salt and Pepper
Thyme and Oregano
Heat the oil in a thick cast iron skillet, and add the flour. It’s time to make a roux! That’s what thickens the Creole sauce. I’m channeling Marcelle Bienvenu, who wrote another great cookbook, Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?
A “blonde” roux is preferable for this dish, so stir the flour until it browns only slightly. Add the chicken and let it brown nicely. A bone in, skin on, breast is preferred
When the chicken is browned, add the onions and pepper, which should be finely diced. When they are softened, add the garlic. Then de-glaze the pan with white wine.
Now it’s time for a little technique: milling tomatoes, using the finest insert that comes with the food mill.
Truthfully, this step is optional, but the end result is a seed free sauce of superior texture and taste. It doesn’t hurt to have some home canned, locally grown, tomatoes to mill, as pictured. Just crank the tomatoes right over the skillet. I’ll do a deep dive into food mills eventually–they are a French invention, and the best ones are still made there.
Once the tomatoes are milled, season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Once the sauce is simmering, put a lid on the skillet and turn it down to the lowest setting possible, the lower, the better. Just add water or stock as it cooks down. In forty minutes or so, you have a dish worth walking fifteen miles for. And that is just to taste it.