This healthy creole cacciatore combines chicken breast, creole spices, the holy trinity (onions, celery, green bell peppers) and a quick gumbo roux for a delicious braise that pairs perfectly with rice.
One of my lifelong travel dreams was to experience the American South on a road trip through Georgia. I envisioned flying into Atlanta then driving to Savannah with some quaint stops along the way. Last May my husband made my dream come true with an epic road trip through Georgia and South Carolina.
En route from Savannah to Charleston, Kenny surprised me with a stop in the historic town of Beaufort. Beaufort combines all the imagery I was hoping for in a gorgeous Southern town. It’s surrounded by water and replete with Antebellum mansions and moss covered oak trees. Our day in Beaufort was magic and topped off with a delicious lunch at Low Country Produce.
Low Country Produce is a large, sun filled market and kitchen with an impeccable Southern menu. We enjoyed the grilled pimento cheese and bacon sandwich along with the best shrimp Po Boy I’ve ever tasted. Since Low Country Produce is a cafe/market, one can purchase their homemade sauces and sundries as gourmet souvenirs. A particular bottle of “low country creole sauce” caught my eye and inspired this chicken creole cacciatore recipe.
To jazz up lean chicken breast, I mix my own creole spices, coat the breasts, and gently brown the poultry. Once browned, I make a low country inspired tomato sauce that is thickened with classic roux. Traditional dark roux can take a long time to achieve. I opted to cook a small batch of roux that cooked in a fraction of time and added much fewer calories from flour and oil. Hint: check out my video on instagram (highlights under “dark roux” to see exactly how I made the roux).
Enjoy this low country classic in your own home tonight!
1 14.5-ounce can plum tomatoes (I use ½ of the 28 ounce can of Cento San Marzano tomatoes)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup all purpose flour
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the creole spice mix. Set aside.
To cut the chicken breast into 4 thin pieces, place one breast on a cutting board. Place the palm of your non-cutting hand on top of the chicken breast. Hold your knife parallel to the cutting board and cut horizontally through the chicken starting on the thick side of the breast.
Once you have 4 thin chicken breasts, season both sides of the breast with kosher salt then season liberally with the creole spice mix you made earlier.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or shallow dutch oven.
Add the chicken breasts to the saucepan and cook until browned, 6-8 minutes per side.
Transfer the browned chicken breasts to a large plate.
Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the now empty pan along with ½ teaspoon salt.
Cook the vegetables over medium heat. When the vegetables release moisture, use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits of chicken stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Cook until the onions are translucent and the celery and bell peppers are softened, 6-8 minutes.
Add the garlic to the vegetables and cook for an additional minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and bay leaves to the pan. Use your wooden spoon to break the tomatoes up into smaller chunks and bring the liquid up to a simmer.
Add the chicken breast back to the pan of tomato sauce, along with any chicken juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the pan.
Simmer the chicken and sauce together for 30 minutes over low heat.
While the sauce is simmering, prepare the roux.
Combine the flour and oil together in a medium pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble and the flour becomes dark brown and fragrant, 10-15 minutes.
Once the flour begins to darken, watch the roux carefully so that it doesn’t burn. The color of the roux should match milk chocolate or cinnamon.
Once the roux reaches the right color, immediately remove from the heat and mix into the simmering tomato sauce.
Stir to fully combine. Continue to simmer the sauce until it thickens, 8-10 minutes longer.