I grew up in Tennessee which is not that far north of New Orleans, especially compared to where I live now. Because of that, I have been exposed to my fair share of Cajun food and that is something that I miss here. I hope not to offend anyone with the following statement. Although Chile is an amazing country on so many levels, the cuisine has no imagination. It consists of fresh, yet very plain ingredients. Someone needs to introduce some flavor down here.
This is a very simple pasta and it was my first attempt at Cajun food since we have lived here. It would have taken me much less time to make if it were not for the shrimp situation…..
Have you ever bought something that you thought was a good deal and it ended up costing you way more than it was worth? For example, there was a time that we received a parking ticket while trying to buy this specific spatula that was on a really good sale. At the time, we thought we could just run in and get it and save a lot of money. We later called it the thousand dollar spatula because it represented the parking ticket. No, it wasn’t really a thousand dollar parking ticket but a little exaggeration makes life more interesting, don’t you think?
Anyway, I was talking about shrimp. So, yeah, the shrimp that I was going to rinse, heat, and throw in to complete my quick and easy dinner ended up being de-shelled but not deveined. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to de-vein shrimp? This happened to be extra small shrimp which made it even worse. Between me and my sympathetic mom, I think it took close to 45 minutes to get it ready to cook. We estimate that between the cost of the shrimp, which is expensive here, and the cost of labor and time that we spent prepping it, this shrimp cost us about 40 dollars. Caviar, anyone?
I don’t know that it was worth it but the shrimp did complete the dish. You can’t have Cajun without some form of seafood.
- 2 (8 ounce or 250g) packages spiral pasta (I use whole wheat)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 small red bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp - peeled and deveined
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning or recipe follows
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dried basil
- 4 bay leaves
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat and cook onions and bell peppers until softened. Add stock, tomato sauce, salt, cajun seasoning, and black beans; simmer uncovered until most of the liquid is evaporated.
- While sauce is simmering, in medium skillet heat oil and cook chicken until mostly done then add shrimp. Continue cooking until shrimp is bright pink and chicken is not pink at all. Remove from heat and pour onto separate plate and cover to keep warm.
- When sauce is ready add meat, half and half, and pasta to skillet and stir until heated through. Serve hot.
- Blend all ingredients together in blender or food processor.