• Tommy Centola

Examples of great comfort food from new book

This is a day that I have waited on for years. After numerous delays, I have a hardback copy of my cookbook, Creole & Cajun Comfort Food. To say that I am excited is an understatement. It has been a long 8 years in the making of this book.

Not only will you find recipes in this book. It is also my debut as a food photographer, as I took all of the food photos in the book. That was a project in itself. But enough about the pictures, let’s talk about the food.

Today, I am sharing two recipes from the book, Chicken Sauce Piquant and Sausage Jambalaya. These are two great examples of comfort food. The recipe introductions are taken directly from the book. Let’s go to the kitchen.

Sauce Piquant is a classic Cajun dish. With this dish, you can bring as much heat as you can stand. You can also remove some of the heat by reducing the amount of jalapeños and hot sauce you use. But if you remove them all, you no longer have sauce piquant. You need some of the heat to give the dish its bite.

Chicken Sauce Piquant

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup bell pepper, finely chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons jalapeño, minced

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce

4 cups chicken stock, plus additional, if needed

2 pounds chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces

Creole seasoning

1/2 cup green onion, sliced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

Hot rice for serving

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and stir constantly until a dark-brown roux forms, about 12 -14 minutes. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add tomato paste, tomato, jalapeño, bay leaf, thyme and hot sauce. Slowly add stock, stirring constantly, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently, 30 minutes. Gently stir in chicken, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with Creole seasoning. Additional stock may be added if Sauce Piquant becomes too thick. Remove bay leaf. Add green onion and parsley and serve over rice.

This jambalaya is the first one I ever ate. My mother made what would be considered a Cajun jambalaya, containing no tomatoes. It was not a spicy jambalaya, cooking for seven children with an age range of 19 years, you need to keep taste simple. However, it was one of the best jambalayas that I have eaten. I know it was made with a lot of love.

Sausage Jambalaya

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced

2 cups beef stock

1 cup long-grain rice

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté onions until soft. Add sausage and cook for 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add rice and season with salt and pepper. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

I thank y’all for sharing this journey with me. I have had the honor of sharing my recipes with y’all with this year being my 5th. I can’t wait to see where this new year brings us and which recipes I will be sharing. I have the best readers anyone could ask for.

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