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Chicken and Shrimp a la Lousianne

Recipe: Chicken and Shrimp a la Lousianne

Remarks:

    This recipe can be doubled and tripled for larger crowds. The most challenging part might be finding a soup pot big enough. You can rent one or divide this into more than one pot. I've had two large ones going at once. It's possible. You can do it! You can even make it ahead and just reheat on the big day. It actually tastes better on day two or three, after the flavors "ferment" a bit.

Servings:
Serves 8

Ingredients:

    6 boneless, skinned chicken breasts cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces (chunks)
    6 slices of bacon cut into 1/4-inch strips
    4 tsp of garlic (jar garlic is fine)
    1 lb fresh sliced mushrooms
    1 onion chopped
    2 Tbl flour
    2 28-oz. cans of diced tomatoes
    1 15-oz. can of tomato sauce
    2 Tbl Italian seasoning
    1 tsp sugar
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp cayenne
    1/3 cup Creole mustard
    1.5 lbs. cooked medium-sized shrimp (tails off)

Instructions:

    Cook the bacon in your pot until crisp. Take the bacon out with a slotted spoon. Set the bacon on paper towels to drain and cool. Pour off most of the fat. Leave in up to 3 tablespoons of bacon grease. It gives it the down home Cajun authenticity and you need some grease in the pan for the rest of the cooking. Add the chicken. Cook the chunks until they are no longer pink in the middle. This will take up about 7 minutes, depending on how many chunks you have and how large your pot is. Just cut one open to check.

    When the chicken is cooked, add the garlic, the mushrooms and the onion. Cook until the onion is softened and the mushrooms give off their liquid. For a serving for 8, this won't take long (5 - 8 minutes on medium high). For a large quantity, this takes longer.

    Add the flour. Stir until the liquids are soaking up and the flour is well distributed. This is sort of like making a fancy roux that will thicken your stew. Add the tomatoes, sauce, seasoning, sugar, salt, cayenne and the mustard. Cook 30 minutes on medium. This timing will also be longer for a larger pot. You need to cook it down some to thicken it. Add the shrimp and heat until the shrimp are hot. Stir in your bacon bits right before you serve it so they stay a bit crunchy.

    You can cook this ahead and keep it in your refrigerator. Add the bacon when you have reheated it and are ready to serve.

Serving Suggestions:

    This "Cajun stew" can be served alone in a bowl and can be served on top of spaghetti or with rice. Sprinkle on a little chopped parsley if you want to give it a gourmet trim at the last minute. This would be termed flavor-filled food, but if you really like Cajun food and you like it hot--"or your friends do" you can serve it with a bottle of hot sauce on the table. They can make it as incendiary as they like.

Enjoy!

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