Happy end of 2016!
As I was cleaning and rearranging, I came across a recipe from seven years ago that I had completely forgotten I had developed. But its disappearance from the regular rotation of my new and old favorites had nothing to do with taste.
The flavors of this Faux Maque Choux recipe are wonderful.
The origins of maque choux (pronounced "mock shoe") trace back to the Acadian French and Native American roots of Southern Louisiana. Like a lot of country cooking, this Cajun corn and tomato stew combines the best flavors of several culinary traditions.
Maque choux is usually made with fresh corn and tomatoes, and flavored with tasso or bacon. But you can enjoy it any time of year by "faking" the fresh corn milk usually obtained by scraping fresh cobs with a combination of broth and pureed frozen white corn kernels.
Most of the cooking time required is for chopping vegetables, but you can chop and refrigerate the veggies for up to 48 hours beforehand if need be. One final note: Don't be intimidated by making the roux. This is a stew, after all, so by definition, it's extremely flexible. The stew is delicious, with all of the traditional flavors -- even if your roux isn't precise.
Macque choux is filling enough for a main dish, but it's traditionally served as a side dish and makes a beautiful accompaniment.
• Faux Maque Choux (Cajun Corn and Tomato Stew)
• Rotisserie chicken
• Frozen biscuits
FAUX MAQUE CHOUX (Cajun Corn and Tomato Stew
PREP: 25 minutes
YIELDS: 4 as main dish, 8 as a side dish
- 1 tablespoon margarine
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 4 slices cooked pastrami, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
- 2/3 cup green pepper, finely diced
- 1 cup frozen white corn kernels
- 1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite-diced tomatoes
- 3 cups frozen yellow corn kernels
- 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste (see Cook's Note)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
In a 3-quart or larger pot with a lid, heat margarine and oil over medium heat. Add pastrami, onion, celery and green pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook until vegetables are soft, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, puree white corn and chicken broth until corn is pulverized. Set aside.
When vegetables in onion mixture are tender, sprinkle flour evenly over veggies. Stirring constantly, cook about 90 seconds more, forming a blond roux. Add tomatoes with their juices and the corn-broth puree. Add yellow corn, garlic, sugar, oregano, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and thyme. Stir well, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any bits. Cover pot and bring to a low boil. When mixture boils, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors and thicken. Serve immediately or simmer until ready to serve, up to 30 minutes.
(Cook's Note: For an even spicier dish, add Tabasco sauce to taste. Leftovers are delicious refrigerated for up to five days.)
Approximate values per side dish serving: 130 calories (27 percent from fat), 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 6 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 300 mg sodium.