“To Peggy: Good cookin’ Good lovin’! “
That’s what he wrote in the dust jacket of my newly purchased cookbook. “He” being the venerable master of Cajun cooking, Paul Prudomme; the book being “Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen.”
I had rehearsed a clever line to say, but feeling like a lowly swamp rat, I could barely manage a hasty “thank-you”.
It’s been 20 years since I met the master, ate at his restaurant and had him sign my beloved cookbook. Judging from the grease-spattered pages, my favorite recipe in the book has to be Chicken Tchoupitoulas.
I must not be the only fan of this dish, named after a street in New Orleans. I still notice Chicken Tchoupitoulas on an on-line K-Paul menu today.
I’ve taken extensive liberties by slashing fat from Chef Prudomme’s masterpiece of a recipe. In fact, he probably wouldn’t recognize it.
But I’m saving calories for Chocolate Soufflé and other Valentine’s day decadence, so have resigned myself to make the cuts. There will be no fried skin on my chicken breast meat and I’ve substituted a minimum amount of olive oil for the butter. Bye-bye yummy Béarnaise sauce…hello…..chicken stock.
I just penciled in the changes to the cookbook; the results, though less sweet and juicy, were wonderful. I served the dish, like the original recipe, with diced, boiled potatoes, seasoning the potatoes with olive oil and additional spice blend. To save time, you could substitute a Cajun or Creole seasoning blend for the first seven ingredients. I have these spices in my cupboard, however, and prefer a freshly made blend.