When temperatures fall, cravings arise for hot, hearty soups and stews that warm you from the inside out. Two local restauranteurs have shared their favorite recipes that you can simmer up at home.
SPICY CHICKEN STEW
This recipe soon may appear on the menu at El Agave, Mercedes Carranza’s Gulfport eatery. Carranza says he’s trying to bring more homestyle food options to the Coast to offer a taste of “our wonderful food culture.”
“It is a delicious spicy gravy with a kick,” he says of this stew, “but don’t worry; it’ll go away with a margarita.”
HOW TO MAKE IT:
- 2 pounds chicken breast
- I tablespoon salt
- Cumin (to desired taste)
- I teaspoon oregano
- Black pepper (to desired taste)
- Red chili powder (to desired taste)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 6 small jalapeno peppers
- ¼ of small onion (chopped)
• Cut two pounds of chicken breast into strips and sauté them in light oil until chicken is cooked.
• While cooking the chicken, add chopped onions, salt, cumin, black pepper and red chili powder to your taste. Chop one of the garlic cloves and add it to the chicken while sautéing.
• In a blender, blend tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, garlic cloves and a tablespoon of salt with two and half cups of water. Add this sauce to the chicken and one teaspoon of oregano.
• Do not drain the oil. Give it a good stir and keep the heat at a medium level for about 10 minutes. Let everything simmer and finish cooking — or as I say, “Let the flavors fall in love.”
*This dish can be served with rice or tortillas.
CRAYFISH ZYDECO SOUP
Starr Chapman, who co-owns Waveland’s Rum Kitchen restaurant with her husband, John “Chappy” Chapman, describes this recipe as “delicious” and “worth the effort.”
“I choose this soup because it highlights the wonderful bounty of seafood available to us year-round,” she says, “(and it has) a delicious punch of coastal flavor.”
Crayfish season began Dec. 1, Chapman adds, “and promises to have a bountiful yield.”
HOW TO MAKE IT:
- ½ cup chopped onions
- ½ cup chopped green peppers
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup oil or butter (substitute chicken stock for low-calorie version)
- ½ cup flour (substitute whole wheat flour for low-calorie version)
- I teaspoon Chappy’s Garlic Spice
- 1 teaspoon Chappy’s Zydeco Spice (Tony Chachere’s is a good substitute.)
- I quart to ½ gallon milk (substitute low-fat or fat-free milk for low-calorie version)
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup chopped purple cabbage
- ½ cup chopped green cabbage
- ½ cup little, purple Bermuda onions, halved (omit if not available)
- 4 cups peeled, cooked crayfish tails
- 1 dash cayenne pepper or Tabasco to taste
• Saute’ onion, pepper and celery in oil or butter over medium high heat. Add the flour and make a roux. Continue stirring. Add spice and seasonings.
• Add milk and “bring the roux up” (meaning gradually add milk until the roux rises). Do not boil. The amount of milk added depends on desired consistency.
• Reduce heat to low. Add the chopped veggies for color. After 10 minutes, add the crayfish. Simmer for two to three minutes longer. Add cayenne pepper or Chappy’s Pepper Sauce for spice.