Introduction: Cajun Chicken Pasta With a South Asian Twist
Just about everyone enjoys a delicious pasta dish. The variety of colors, textures and flavors can be adjusted to feed even the pickiest of eaters, which makes it a great choice for your next family get together or quiet evening at home.
This version puts a sweet and spicy twist on the traditional pasta using Cajun seasoning and lap cheong. You are probably thinking "What's lap cheong?" It is a sweet southern style Chinese sausage whose chewy texture and sweet bite will surprise everyone at the table. The recipe included here is easier to cook than the sausage is to pronounce, I promise.
This dish easily serves 5 people and can be prepared in about 35 to 45 minutes. Here is what you will need:
10 oz. Penne Rigate pasta
4 bell peppers (any color)
½ white onion
2 Tbs. minced garlic
1 ½ lb. of chicken thighs (thawed)
2 Strips of “lap cheong” (Southern style Chinese sausage)
6 Tbs. vegetable oil
½ cup of heavy cream
2 cups chicken broth
10 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (undrained)
3 Tbs. Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp. Salt (if using low sodium chicken broth)
Two cutting boards (one for meat and one for vegetables)
Two sharp knives (large enough to cut vegetables and chicken).
Jumbo sized frying pan
Medium sized spoon or spatula (for stirring)
Step 1: Prep Veggies
Wash the outside of the bell peppers with water and remove the outer skin of half an onion. Cut the peppers into bite size pieces (about 1 inch) and the onion into pieces about half that size. The size doesn't really matter here, but the goal is smaller rather than larger pieces. Set these aside for later.
Step 2: Prepare Sausage
The sausage used in this recipe can be purchased from most Asian grocery stores or food markets. If unable to locate it, you can omit it or substitute with 1/4 pound of regular sausage.
If you found it, great! Cut the lap cheong sausage into ½ inch pieces and set aside.
Step 3: Prep Chicken
Rinse the chicken thighs in cool water and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut up the chicken into ½ inch cubes (small bite size pieces) and set aside.
Step 4: Season Chicken
Add 2 Tbsp of Cajun seasoning and toss to cover the chicken.
Step 5: Cook Chicken
Add 2-3 Tbs. of vegetable oil to a small skillet and wait for a couple minutes until the oil becomes hot. Then cook chicken on medium-high heat until completely cooked (no longer pink on the inside), 10-12 min. For crispier chicken cook slightly longer on each side until browned. Remove from heat and set aside in small bowl or plate.
SAFETY TIP: The oil is hot and can burn skin. Be careful when adding the chicken to the skillet to avoid splashing the hot oil.
Step 6: Cook Vegetables
Add 2-3 Tbs. of vegetable oil to a small skillet and cook vegetables on medium-high heat until soft and starting to blacken on the outside, stirring occasionally, 10-12 min.
Step 7: Preparing the Pasta and Sauce
While cooking the vegetables, add pasta, chicken broth, salt (if needed), heavy cream, sausage and tomatoes to the jumbo frying pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally, 15 min. You know you are done when most of the sauce has been boiled off or absorbed by the pasta.
Step 8: Finishing the Dish
Combine chicken and vegetables to the jumbo frying pan filled with sauce and pasta and turn off the heat. Mix thoroughly before serving.
Hope you enjoy it!