Spice of Life: Super Bowl, sauce piquant winning combination

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

Big games like the Super Bowl warrant

robust flavored foods that not only fill you up, but give you that extra

nudge towards

a nap in case the NFL title game is a dud, or an exciting game in

which you will need a full belly to get a good night sleep.

Sauce piquant is a Cajun-inspired dish that features wild game or meats most cooks are comfortable cooking.

Piquant is “French for a flavor that can be spicy, tart, or pungent” according to “The Food Lover’s Companion.”

For the purpose of knowing exactly what we are referring to, a sauce piquant is basically a tomato-based sauce with a touch

of roux in it.

Another important aspect of the sauce is that it needs to be cooked for several hours on a low fire.

That means you want to start this dish in the morning in order to have it finished by game time.

What follows is a chicken sauce piquant recipe from one of Louisiana’s top chefs, Donald Link.

Chef Donald Link’s Chicken Sauce Piquant

Ingredients

• 1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, deboned, cut in 1-inch pieces

• Spice mix (recipe follows)

• 3/4 cup vegetable oil or lard

• 1 cup flour

• 1 small onion, diced

• 1 small poblano pepper

• 1 tablespoon chopped garlic

• 3 stalks celery, diced

• 5 medium Roma tomatoes, diced

• 2 cups canned tomatoes

• 1 tablespoon dried thyme

• 4 bay leaves

• 5 cups chicken stock

• 4 dashes hot sauce

• Hot cooked rice

• Dried scallions, for garnish

Directions

• Toss chicken in spice mix, making certain the chicken is evenly coated. Wash your hands.

• In a wide-bottom pot or Dutch oven, heat oil until it begins to smoke slightly. While waiting, coat the

chicken with the flour in a large mixing bowl, tossing the chicken with your hands to make sure it all gets coated well. Shake excess flour off the

chicken, reserving the leftover flour.

• Pan fry the chicken over medium heat. Don’t crowd the pan with the chicken or it will not get the right color.

• The pieces should be side by side, not one on top of the other. When chicken has reached the desired color, remove it from the pan with a slotted spatula. Mostly you will have to do this in two batches.

• Add the remaining flour to the oil in the pan, and cook over medium heat for about five minutes to make a medium brown roux.

• Add onions, peppers, garlic and celery, and cook five minutes more. Add the tomatoes, chicken and dried thyme, bay leaves, stock and hot sauce.

• Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Serve over rice with freshly diced scallions.

Spice Mix

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 tablespoons salt

• 2 teaspoons black pepper

• 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

• 2 teaspoons cayenne

• 2 teaspoons chili powder

• 1 teaspoon paprika

Directions

• Combine all ingredients.

From blog.nola.com

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Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at ecormier@americanpress.com or 494-4090.