Friday, December 17, 2010

Cajun Chicken Maque Choux Stew

Corn and tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapenos, make a fabulous popular Deep South dish all on it's own, but add in a little chicken, serve over rice and you've got a great main dish stew.

Chicken Maque Choux Stew

Maque Choux, a dish that is said to have been passed down to the Cajuns by Native Americans, is a traditional south Louisiana dish. Sort of a smothered corn and tomato stew, and sometimes, as in this case, made with chicken. Maque Choux is perfectly good all on its own of course, making a great side dish for anytime, but I also love adding in chicken - which usually comes from a chicken that I have poached or roasted and stripped and then used the stock. This is also another great dish to add to the list of what to do with a deli rotisserie chicken when you're in a time crunch.

Maque choux (pronounced mock-shoe) like many southern dishes, had to have been born out of what was in season and needing to be used up from the garden - fresh tomatoes and corn being the key components. Course we are pretty much out of that season down here at the moment, but don't fret. While in this modern day it's possible to find both even in the midst of winter, it is also perfectly acceptable to use canned and frozen products for a pretty darned good maque choux.

You start off with a saute of some onion, bell pepper and garlic. Some folks like to add in celery too. Then you stir in some fresh, chopped tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. If you like, add in a bit of chopped jalapeno. You can also substitute two cans of drained, diced tomatoes, one of them preferably Rotel, if you like.

Add the corn {and the milk from scraping the corn when you use fresh corn on the cob}, and a little sugar. Add in about half of the broth, or use the stock from the chicken if you poached one. Give it all a stir, bring it just up to a boil and then let that simmer about 15 minutes. To substitute, use two cans of whole kernel plus one can of cream style corn, or two small packages of frozen, and simmer for less time.

Stir in the additional chicken broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, if it begins to get too dry. Some people use a great deal of butter, and often cream in this dish, but I like the flavor of the added chicken stock. You can certainly substitute additional butter, and milk or cream for part of the stock, especially if you are using canned or frozen corn.

Fold in the cooked chicken, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, and simmer covered until warmed through, another 10 minutes or so. Stir in a bit of cream at the end if desired...

...and you've got one pretty darned good and hearty stew.

Corn Maque Choux and Chicken Maque Choux are traditionally served atop a bed of hot, steaming rice. Eh, what's a few more carbs, right?  Enjoy!

Recipe: Cajun Chicken Maque Choux Stew

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 3-4 cups of cooked chicken, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1-1/2 cups of chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of sliced pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 2-1/2 cups of chicken broth or stock
  • 8 ears of corn, stripped and cobs milked
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Cajun or Creole seasoning, or to taste, optional
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of heavy cream, optional
  • Hot boiled rice


Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or soup pot and saute the onion, and bell pepper until soft, but not brown. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the tomatoes and jalapenos; cook and stir about 5 minutes. Add half of the chicken broth, corn and the sugar, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring several times. Add additional broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, as needed, if stew gets dry. Fold in the cooked chicken, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, and simmer covered until warmed through, another 10 minutes or so. Stir in cream, if desired, in the last few minutes of cooking.  Serve alone, or over fresh boiled rice.

Variation: To make this corn maque choux, omit the chicken and, if desired, substitute 1/4 pound of chopped tasso, smoked sausage, or bacon, if desired. Cook the bacon or sear the meat first, and remove before sauteing the vegetables. Add back in with the broth.

Cook's Notes: When fresh corn and tomatoes are not in season, substitute 2 cans of diced tomatoes, drained, and use 2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained, with 1 can of cream style corn, or about two 10-ounce packages of frozen corn. Overall, you'll need roughly 4 cups of corn, and you won't need to simmer it as long. Also, may substitute more cream or whole milk for part of the broth, if desired, especially when not using fresh corn on the cob.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on December 17, 2010

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