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Spice of Life: Louisiana, Spain share cooking similarities

Last Modified: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:22 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

In recent years, I’ve started paying more attention to the foodways of Spain.

One of the noteworthy aspects of Spanish cooking is its similarities to Louisiana cuisine. That is not an odd connection because the Bayou State was ruled by Spain from 1762 to 1802.

That country’s influence on Louisiana cuisine is displayed in our use of paprika, garlic, onions, tomatoes and parsley.

I bought a book entitled “Classic Spanish Cooking” by award-winning food writer Elisabeth Luard in an effort to educate myself about continental Spanish cooking.

I found a flavorful chicken with garlic recipe.

About the dish, Luard wrote, “As with all simple things, the raw materials matter: the garlic should be firm and plump with no sign of sprouting; if using a chicken, pick a small free-range bird with a high ratio of bone to flesh — more chewable and easier to eat in your fingers.”

I decided to use the recipe as a base and create my own version of the Spanish dish.

Before I go any further, a few more words from Luard need to be shared about garlic. “The unmistakable perfume of this pungent member of the onion family rises from every Mediterranean cooking pot. Garlic has a high sugar content, which responds well to gentle carmelization, although it burns easily. Garlic is used as a cure-all, a panacea for everything from hangover to the pains of childbirth to the common cold.”

Personally, I am a garlic lover and for some reason, as I age and cook more, the urge for garlic in a pot increases.

I hope you enjoy my version of the dish.

Remember, with anything you cook, patience is a virtue. And don’t forget to use your own imagination in the kitchen.

Make sure you use a dry white wine that you like to cook the chicken and garlic. As the food roasts, you have to enjoy a few sips of wine to pass the time.

Lastly, explore the culinary world because that will help you learn how Louisiana cuisine has evolved.


Roasted Chicken with Garlic (serves 4)


• 1 chicken cut into frying pieces
8-12 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup onions, sliced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Salt to taste
Crushed black pepper to taste
Olive oil
4 cup green onions, minced
3 cup white wine


Turn oven on to 350 F.

Season chicken with salt and black pepper on both sides and place in roasting pan. Set aside.

In a saute pan, pour in olive oil to coat. Heat pan up to medium and toss in onions. Cook until turning color and add garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes and add green onion, thyme, salt and black pepper. Cook until mixture is done.

Pour over chicken. Pour wine into pan with mixture.

Place pan in oven and cook until chicken is done.

Serve with French bread.


Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at or 494-4090.

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