Chicken Maque Choux is one of the most wonderful, rich and flavorful chicken dishes there is. This has been one of our favorites for years, and is absolutely best cooked at the end of summer, when the corn is rich and ripe with plenty of other fresh vegetables available to round out the chicken and sausage. Fresh vegetables are essential for the complementary flavors, but you can do this with frozen and canned ingredients in the winter. This is one of the reasons to freeze and can your own produce, to be able to capture the taste of late summer in the middle of winter…
“Maque choux” is a Cajun word meaning a dish smothered with fresh corn and tomatoes. This is a stew dish in consistency and needs some liquid in the bottom of the bowls. Provide soup spoons and plenty of fresh bread, as the liquid in the bowls is delicious!
This is the traditional recipe, using the entire chicken, but one can use breasts or thighs if needed. We use Olive oil to cook in, and cast iron as it holds the heat better and adds more flavor, I believe. This is one recipe where the freshest ingredients will really shine. Fresh, local chicken will make this a dish that everyone will remember.
The sausage is optional, as it does add to the richness of the dish. For a lighter dish, use just the chicken. Who cooks Cajun in a lighter way though? Seriously, though, the chicken by itself is very memorable!
Chicken and Sausage Maque Choux
1/4 Cup Vegetable oil or Olive Oil
2 Small fryers, cut up (Can cut into bite sized pieces if desired)
1/2 Pound hot Cajun or Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch slices (Optional)
4 Cups fresh corn cut off the cob, with cob liquid reserved (substitute 16 Oz frozen sweet corn if needed)
2 Tbs fresh heavy cream
3 Cups chopped onion
1 Cup chopped green pepper
2 large Beefsteak tomatoes, coarsely chopped (substitute Italian canned plum tomatoes if needed)
1/4 Tsp dried Thyme
1/4 Tsp dried Basil (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil)
1 Tbs finely minced fresh Parsley
2 fresh Thyme sprigs
1/2 Tsp cayenne, or to taste
3 Tsp salt
1 Tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
2-3 Tbs milk, if needed
Heat oil in a heavy 8-10 Qt pot or kettle over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown in hot oil, turning often to brown evenly. When chicken is just starting to brown, add sausage if using, turning often. Reduce heat to low once sausage has started to cook and chicken is almost browned. Add onion and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Add corn, corn liquid and cream, mixing thoroughly. Add green pepper, tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper. Lower heat until mixture is just barely simmering, cook for 30-45 minutes. Check progress about every 15 minutes. Chicken and sausage should be very tender, chicken will be almost falling off bones. If dish is too soupy, uncover pot for last 15 minutes. If it is becoming a little too dry, add milk as needed.
Serve hot with fresh bread in soup or gumbo bowls. Make a full recipe, as everyone will go back for more, and it gets better the next day.