Mardi Gras ! Let le Bon temps Rouler!

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While it’s warm in Louisiana this time of year and today is the official start of Mardi Gras in Cajun Country, here in Montreal it’s still cold out outside! So here is one of my favorite Cajun recipes to keep you warm on this cold winter night. The recipe is from Chef Paul Prudhomme, the father of Cajun cooking with an added twist and simplified for your benefit. Guaranteed to become a favorite in your home. I have not met many people who do not ask me to cook this soup over and over again and I have sold lots of it to my clients. Warning it can be very spicy and not for the faint at heart.

Creole Chicken & Dumplings:
8 Servings
Ingredients for Seasoning Mix:
1 tbsp Salt
1 ½ tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper-cayenne
1 tsp dried sweet basil
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp gumbos file (optional)
Combine seasoning in small bowl. Set aside.

3 lbs boneless chicken breasts-cubed
1 c flour
Vegetable oil for frying
2 quarts chicken stock
3 c chopped onions and green bell peppers
2 cups heavy cream 35%
2 tbsp unsalted butter.
Sprinkle cube chicken breasts with 4 tsp seasoning mix. Combine 1 with floor in a bag and add chicken to bag and shake to coat. Keep leftover flour to make roux.Heat 1 inch oil in skillet over medium heat cook chicken till browned. Stir to cook evenly. With slotted spoon remove onto paper towel once done.
In large pot combine chicken stock, onions and green bell peppers, cream and remaining seasoning mix and bring to a boil, reduce heat and add chicken pieces. Stir occasionally. Simmer 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make dumplings.

Dumplings: Ingredients
2 eggs
¼ c finely minced onions
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp sage
¼ c milk (more if needed)
¼ c melted unsalted butter
1 ¼ c flour
In bowl combine eggs and onions and beat vigorously with metal whisk until frothy. Add baking powder and whisk until all clumps are gone. Add seasoning and blend. Stir in milk and butter. Gradually add in flour and beat until smooth add 1/3 flour at a time. In steamer cook dumplings by dropping 1 tablespoon of dough onto rack. Cook 5-7 minutes. Remove and set aside till all dumplings are cooked. Makes a dozen dumplings.
Tip: to create perfect dumplings, use finger to push dough off spoon. If you don’t have a steamer, use colander on top of saucepan of boiling water.

To thicken soup, melt butter in a pan and add 2 tablespoon of seasoned leftover flour. Stir till smooth and darkened. Add 1 c of stock to roux, stir till smooth and return to pot of stock. Simmer for another 30 minutes. When ready to serve add dumplings and stir gently. Cook till dumplings are heated through and serve in large soup bowls.

Chicken Creole

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