Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Caveman Cajun Ragout

I was treated to a fabulous birthday dinner last weekend at the 1200 Chophouse on Gulf Boulevard. My dear friends, Jim and Denise, insisted that I order the 2.5 pound Tomahawk Ribeye. That gnaw on the bone caveman-sized rib was heavenly delicious, but way too much for one little old person like me. Consequently, a big chunk of that steak followed me home.

Years ago I had a recipe for a left-over beef ragout that turned out real well. That recipe seems to have disappeared in the mists of time. "Now what?" thought I. Eureka! How's about a Cajun Chicken Ragout, but with bite sized chunks of ribeye and beef stock instead of chicken stock? Well, why not? This recipe easily converts to a beef ragout with two cups of left-over beef steak in bite sized pieces and beef stock instead of chicken.

Pictured is the beef ragout

Cajun Chicken Ragout

  6              slices  bacon -- cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  1              cup  onion -- diced
  1              cup  celery -- diced
  1              pinch  salt
  1/2           cup  green bell pepper -- diced
  1/2           cup  red bell pepper -- diced
  3              cloves  garlic -- minced
  1/3           cup  all-purpose flour
  1              teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  1              teaspoon  paprika
  1/2           teaspoon  dried oregano
  1/4           teaspoon  cayenne pepper -- or to taste
  1              cup  chicken stock -- divided
  1              teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
  8              ounces  andouille sausage -- sliced 1/2-inch thick
  2              cups  cooked chicken -- shredded
  1/4           cup  green onions -- 1/4" thick
                  salt and pepper -- to taste

Cook and stir bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving bacon fat.

Return skillet to medium heat; add two tablespoons bacon fat, cook and stir onion, celery, and a pinch of salt until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until bell peppers are soft, about 5 minutes.

Pour two additional tablespoons of bacon fat into the onion mixture, sprinkle in flour, and cook until flour is browned and mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon black pepper, paprika, oregano, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.

Pour 1/4 cup of chicken stock into vegetable mixture; cook and stir, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan, until combined. Add remaining stock and Worcestershire sauce. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until sauce is thick and reduced slightly, about 10 minutes. If sauce is too thick, add more stock.

 Reduce heat to low. Add andouille sausage, chicken, and reserved bacon. Cook until hot.

Remove from heat, stir in green onions, and season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve over cooked white rice.

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This recipe can serve two very hungry eaters or four dainty diners. Recipe takes about an hour from start to finish.

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