Sweet Corn is Back in Season

Dinner,In Season,Recipes
June 16, 2011

Sweet, milky corn fresh off the cob stars in a modern remake of a a classic Cajun dish. Paired with pattypan squash, it's a delicious, easy summer dinner.

Fresh Summer Corn
Photo by Mark Boughton
http://pgoarelish2.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/13559_corn_bueaty_h_w.jpg

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 tinkered with the recipe I remembered 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—to date it’s the best summer dish I know. It uses fresh corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers and garlic.

I picked up some chicken quarters, the most economical cut of chicken there is, and rubbed them with a mixture of cinnamon, cumin, garlic and onion powder, and  sauteed to a crispy brown. They were then nestled in the sauteed vegetable mixture, covered and baked. The corn mixture soaked 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 them 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,” labeled “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, it was indeed some smart chicken.

—By Jill Melton

Chicken Maque Choux

Chicken Maque Choux

A Cajun-country side dish gets a tasty make-over with the addition of spice-rubbed chicken.

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Sautéed Patty Pan Squash

Just three simple ingredients is all this summer-fresh side dish needs.

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