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Big Pot of Comfort :: Spicy Cajun Chili with a Kick!

Spicy Cajun Chili
Spicy Cajun Chili

Chili is one of my go-to recipes when the Autumn leaves start turning colors and the weather starts getting cooler – especially on a crisp weekend night cuddled under some fuzzy blankets with me and my kitty cat watching some movies. Or with a group of friends watching everyone go crazy on college football game day. There’s nothing better than that. And, it’s an easy thing to make and dishes out a big dose of comfort. The best part is once I make a big pot, I can eat it for a few days and then throw the rest in the freezer for later (unless all my crazy friends dig in and there’s nothing left to show for it which actually makes me the happiest!)

I decided I wanted to make a spicier version of the chili I normally make and added a kick to it with some Cajun/Creole seasoning Tony Chacere’s (or you can try Emeril’s Southwest Essence) which adds an extra layer of spicy, savory flavor with green and red bell pepper and celery flavors.  I added some red pepper flakes, diced green chilies and a few tablespoons of hot sauce to the mix and used half ground chicken (you can also use ground turkey) / half ground beef and threw in some garlic, onions and black beans to make it a little healthier too. If you want to make it even more authentically Cajun, you could throw in some Andouille sausage or corn or green and red peppers for even more flavor and texture.

It’s perfect on its own, but you can cool the heat a little bit with some sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese on top. If you want it even spicier, just throw in a little extra hot sauce – I love Evil Ooze by Hotline Pepper Products (my friend Kerry Stressel makes it in Texas) and classic Tabasco hot sauce, or you can do a little milder sauce like Frank’s RedHot or Cholula) and top with extra diced chilies or sliced jalapenos. I usually serve my chili with plain crackers or corn chips, but you could also make some yummy cheesy garlic bread to serve with it instead. Cozy up and enjoy! 🙂

Spicy Cajun Chili with a Kick

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere's)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 -28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 -15 ounce can tomato sauce or 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced green chilies, drained (or 1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and diced)
  • 1 cup of corn kernels (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream, for garnish
  • Extra hot sauce, diced chilies or jalapeno (if desired)
  • Crackers, garlic toast or corn chips, for serving (if desired)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and saute the chopped onion until soft and translucent, for about 5-6 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  2. Add the ground chicken or turkey and beef to the pot and mix with the garlic and onion, stirring with a wooden spoon to brown the meat. Continue to cook until all the meat is brown and no longer pink, for about 8-10 minutes. Drain the fat off the meat into a colander and place meat and onion-garlic mixture back into the pan.
  3. Add the Cajun-Creole seasoning and all the dry chili spices and red pepper flakes, stir and cook for another minute or so.
  4. Pour in the stock, water, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce (or chopped fresh tomatoes) and hot sauce; turn up the heat until chili starts to bubble, and lower heat to a simmer.
  5. Stir in black beans and and diced green chilies, cover and simmer for at least 45 minutes, up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. (Note: You can play with the thickness of the chili by adding additional water or stock as it simmers, but be sure to taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking if you do this.)
  7. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for garnish. Top with some extra diced chilies or jalapenos for extra zing if desired.

Notes

You can play with the desired thickness of the chili by adding additional water or stock but be sure to taste and season it to your liking if you do this.)

You can also add some fresh or canned corn to the chili while cooking.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for garnish. You can also top with some extra diced chilies or jalapenos for extra zing if desired.

Fresh cilantro or lime adds great flavors as garnish for a little bit more green.

Enjoy with a big hearty glass of red wine or a beer and some crackers, corn chips or cheesy garlic bread.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/09/spicy-cajun-chili/

Other Chili Recipes you may enjoy:

Southern Style Taco Soup

Emeril Lagasse Kickin Chili

Cooking Light Turkey and Bean Chili

White on Rice Couple Spicy Bacon Cowboy Chili

How Sweet Eats Chunky Fire Roasted Chili

The Pioneer Woman Simple Chili

Devon’s Award Winning Chili (Barefoot Contessa)

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Mardi Gras Celebration: Crab Cakes w/ Spicy Remoulade Sauce

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the world because of its rich history, diverse culture, quaint courtyards and wrought-iron balconies, jazz and blues on every corner and most of all the delicious spicy Cajun and Creole food this city is famous for. There is a difference between Cajun (French Louisiana settlers) and Creole (early French and Spanish settlers) and the food is slightly different in style although the ingredients used in dishes are similar – the “Holy Trinity” of green peppers, onions and celery, seafood (crawfish, shrimp, oysters), sausages, roux (flour cooked in fat as a thickening base for soups, stews and gumbos), hot sauce (Tabasco) and Cajun/Creole Spices made of cayenne, salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, mustard powder, basil, thyme and cloves (here’s a great recipe to make your own or Tony Chacere’s is a great one that is pre-made).

Creole cuisine is slightly more refined and lighter in spices and seasonings than Cajun cuisine, based on classical French cooking technique. Creole food has influences from France, Spain, Africa, Germany and Italy and typical Creole dishes include Oysters Rockefeller, Baked Fish Creole, Shrimp Etoufee, Remoulade Sauce and Bananas Foster. Cajun food is considered more of a “peasant country food” and tends to have spicier, more pungent, heavier ingredients and one-pot dishes. Typical Cajun dishes include Gumbo and Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, Crawfish Cornbread Dressing and Po-Boy Sandwiches.

Whether its Cajun or Creole, celebrate  Mardi Gras “Fat Tuesday” by cooking up some of these crunchy, golden Crab Cakes with a Spicy Remoulade Sauce and serve it with a Mixed Greens Salad of Endive, Escarole or Chicory, with a Creamy Shallot French Vinaigrette.

Crabcakes with Spicy Remoulade Sauce

Crab Cakes

½ lb jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over (large chunks)
3 tbsp finely chopped red pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ c mayonnaise
1 egg
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Tabasco, several dashes (to taste)
Canola oil, for sautéing
Chives and Lemon wedges, for garnish

Combine crabmeat, red pepper, shallots and parsley in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine mayo and egg; season with cayenne and Tabasco. Gently stir in crab mixture and mix to combine. Stir in 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs to make the crab cakes hold together, and if necessary, add another 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs. Form into 4 crab cakes and coat with the Panko. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to fry.

Crab Cakes Ready to Cook

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

Frying Crabcakes

Add in crab cakes and cook over medium-high heat until the crab cakes are lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Flip crab cakes over and continue cooking another 2 minutes on the other side, or until lightly golden. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake the crab cakes 10 minutes to cook through.

Crab Cakes on Parchment Paper

Spicy Remoulade Sauce

1 ½ c mayonnaise
3 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
3 tbsp chopped cornichons (small sweet gherkins)
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped chervil
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3-4 dashes Tabasco

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, capers, cornichons, chives, chervil, tarragon, mustard, anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to overnight.

Place a dollop of Remoulade with garnishes of chopped chives and sliced lemons with the Crab Cakes. Serve with a crisp white wine and mixed greens (Endive, Escarole or Chicory) with a Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette (recipe follows).

Makes about 1 pint.

Mixed Greens with Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette

Beat 1 egg yolk with 2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard and 2 tbsp minced shallots. Slowly, in a thin stream, add ¾ c vegetable oil and blend well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over mixed greens such as Endive, Escarole or Chicory.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipes originated from Chef Gail Katz and ICE

Check out Tabasco.com for more great Mardi Gras recipes (Gumbo, Jambalaya, Etoufee & King Cakes!)

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