The Best Summer Dish You’ve Never Had
That’s “Mock Shoe” to you.
When I ran across a recipe for chicken maque choux in the pages of Gourmet 15 years ago, it became a summer standard. However I misplaced the recipe somewhere (probably with the socks from the dryer) and have improvised it over the years to what it is now. It probably isn’t a true maque choux, (a braised corn, tomato and pepper dish of French Acadian, Native American origin) or one Louisianans would endorse, but it’s fabulous and my rendition–and to date the best summer dish I know. It uses fresh corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers, and garlic. I rubbed the chicken quarters I picked up last Friday–the most economical cut of chicken there is–with a mixture of cinnamon, cumin, garlic and onion powder, and sauteed to a crispy brown. They’re then nestled in the sauteed vegetable mixture, covered and baked. The corn mixture soaks up the yummy chicken juices for something my Southern neighbors would call a sort of “fried corn” with chicken.
There was an abundance of patty pan squash at the farmers market, which I picked up for a buck a pound. I could have added it to the maque choux, but as they were beautiful miniature specimens, I decided to saute and serve alongside the maque choux instead. (Also, it’s always best to limit “stuff” in the corn for the kids). The chicken was a brand called “smart chicken.” Labelled “air-chilled, no water added, natural and raised without antibiotics.” It was on sale last week and not what I usually buy, but boy, by the time I was done with it, indeed it was some smart chicken.
Other recipes you might like:
Chicken Maque Choux
If you want to make this more indulgent, use 2 strips of bacon or ham in place of the oil and add a splash of cream to the corn before baking.
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon each sugar and pepper
1 tablespoon oil
4 chicken quarters
2 green or spring onions, chopped
4 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob
1 large tomato, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine spice mixture, rub over chicken. Heat oil in large oven-proof skillet. Brown chicken 5 minutes each side. Remove chicken to plate. Saute onions, corn, tomato for 5 minutes. Place chicken on top of corn. Cover and bake 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes.
Sauteed Patty Pan Squash
1 pound small patty pan squash, cut in half, horizontally
1 strip bacon or oil
Saute 1 strip of bacon or ham. Add squash and saute 7 minutes or until browned and tender. Sprinkle with basil.