Monday, April 23, 2012

Cajun Chicken Alfredo atop Penne and Black Beans.

April 23rd 2012 Dinner

    Cajun Chicken Alfredo atop Penne and Black Beans.  The idea was given to me by Brenda.  She had gotten the idea from a dinner we had had at a restaurant up in Rutland Vermont about two weeks ago.  Well long story short I've cooked Italian and Cajun so I didn't think it would be hard.  I wasn't wrong but I was in for a ride.  It was a pain in the butt.  I love to cook but sometimes I get really frustrated with the "fusion-confusion" cuisine.  I can say I really enjoyed this meal though, and I'm not one for Alfredo sauce.  I don't mind it but I really really have to be in the mood to eat it.  
     The chicken was seasoned with cayenne pepper (ground), cinnamon, both garlic and onion powder, adobo, and paprika.  After putting the dry rub on the chicken get a cast iron skillet nice and hot (by hot I mean you want to set it on the stove on high for a while I mean let the pan get scary hot) and just put the chicken in the pan on the front of the breast.  Sear the chicken till it gets a nice dark brown color.  Finish off in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
    The alfredo sauce is the only pain in the butt part to this dinner.  I have made so many bechamels that I cry milk, however each time I make one its always a challenge.  Unfortunately due to a variable of factors no two sauces will be the same only very close.  But I rant.  On to the Alfredo sauce.   Take about 3 cups of milk and heat on medium-low and just heat till you see a slight amount of steam rising.  If the milk gets too hot it will curdle and we are not out to make cheese.  Add a little flour to the milk once its to the right temperature and stir using a wisk (make sure to whisk while adding the flour so you don't get clumps of half cooked flour).  When you are done whisking the flour add about a cup of parmasean cheese and thoroughly whisk into the thickened sauce.  Your sauce may still seem to be a little watery but let it simmer for around 20 minutes while stirring frequently.  Before you simmer your sauce for 20 minutes add some paprika, and cayenne pepper to the sauce as you like.  Make sure you taste the sauce as you go so you know how the final taste will be.  
    When the sauce has finished simmering add salt and pepper to taste.  While you are cooking the sauce go ahead and cook off your pasta.  I use penne but you can use ziti or rigatoni.  When the pasta is done add a can of black beans.  Make sure to strain and rinse them so you get the black water off of the beans.  Take about 1/3 of the sauce and add to the pasta.  Place the pasta portion on your plates.  After that add the chicken on top (you can arrange them however you like) and pour some of the alfredo sauce over the top.  Then you can garnish with either parsley, thyme, or basil.  I used parsley only because I had it on hand.
    Well go ahead and enjoy and please let me know what you think.  I will be posting many more dinners.

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