Thursday, September 12, 2013

Macque Choux! Gesundheit!

While I've been trying to get over a nasty chest cold, I still found the energy to utilize fresh Hatch chiles (see Roasted with Love-Hoarded with Passion and The Great Green Chile Quest), this time in Macque Choux! Macque choux, pronounced "mock shoe," is a corn-based side dish traditional to southern Louisiana. The origins of this Cajun specialty are a bit unknown; however, it appears that the dish was embraced by the Acadians (French immigrants from eastern Canada) who, after being moved out by the British, settled in Louisiana and learned it from the local Native Americans. There are a plethora of recipes for macque choux, but all contain corn, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, herbs, spices, and usually some Tasso ham. 

This recipe for "Hatch Chile Macque Choux" is yet again another version I'd never seen before, so I had to try it! It utilizes fresh Hatch chiles (which hopefully you have all ready to go in your freezer), bacon, a little lager, NO tomatoes (gasp!), and enriched with heavy cream. I served it with some seared scallops and a garnish of fresh chives. Very pretty! However, this fiery version (which really helped open my sinuses) really over-powered the delicate flavor of the scallops. Shrimp, crawfish, chicken, and some potatoes can be added to create a "main meal." If you prefer not to use the green chiles, substitute tomatoes for a more authentic dish. Any leftover macque choux makes a welcome addition to cornbread!


Hatch Chile Macque Choux

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon, chopped
3/4 cup red bell pepper, diced (if using tomatoes instead of green chile, substitute a green bell pepper instead...to keep the colors pretty!)
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup lager
4 cups corn (preferably freshly cut from 3 or 4 ears of corn, see Techniques)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, deseeded, and sliced (optional, can be replaced with diced tomatoes)

Directions:

Saute bacon over medium heat until crisp. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the red bell pepper and onion to the pan. Cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the lager and deglaze by stirring and scraping all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the lager is nearly evaporated. Add corn, cream, and Tabasco. (If using tomatoes instead of chiles, add them here.) Bring to a simmer and cook until cream is thick enough to leave a trail on the back of a spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Hatch chiles, if using.

Recipe courtesy of Central Market.

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