Jalapeño chicken

cheese jalapeno pimiento

La bonne cuisine: cooking New Orleans style, 337pp.
compiled by women of All Saint’s Episcopal Church
Episcopal Churchwomen of All Saints’, New Orleans, 1980
Cooking on page 132

I’ve had this book for about 25 years, having bought it for $6 from a second-hand bookstore somewhere in the USA. Some of my family hails from Louisiana (New Orleans) and Mississippi (Gulfport), so I have a special interest in the region.

One of my earliest childhood memories is of my Uncle Bo lifting me onto a large tree branch in a park on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. To be honest, I only remember my uncle, a tree branch and a large body of water, but my mother filled in the details. She was rather amazed that I remember something from when I was about two years old. After that there’s a big gap in my childhood memories. 🙂

chicken celery onion

A quick aside about the book. It has more than 550 tested recipes and is thought to be New Orleans most-loved cookbook. It won the Outstanding Community Cookbook Award from the Tabasco/McIlhenny Company Cookbook Hall of Fame. It includes 33 pages of recipes from famous New Orleans restaurants.

Page 32 is the first time I’ve cooked out of this book, and after finishing the recipe I gave the book to young newlyweds, Madeleine and Keiran, who were married in New Orleans. It just seemed the right thing to do. Madeleine and our daughter, Petra, have been friends since pre-school.

So here’s the recipe.

chicken jalapeno

Jalapeño chicken

1 large frying chicken, cut up or 6 breasts
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice to taste
butter or margarine
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 pound Velveeta cheese, sliced
jalapeño peppers, sliced
1 (2 ounce) jar pimientos, sliced
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked

celery onion wine celery onion wine chicken in pan chicken cooking

Place the chicken in a greased 7” x 11” baking dish. Add the broth, wine, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Dot with the butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven and add the garlic, onion and celery. Return it to the oven and bake for 1 hour or until browned.

Remove the dish from the oven, add the cheese, and top with the Jalapeño peppers and pimiento. (The more peppers, the hotter the dish.) Return the dish to the oven and bake, basting occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve the chicken over the rice. Serves 6.

How it played out
Even though I hate cutting up whole chickens, I bought one and did the job without chopping off my fingers. Big whew!

The cheeses and pimentos presented challenges, but not extreme concerns. Velveeta is not available in Australia, nor is tinned (jarred) pimento.

After years of living in Australia, I find it’s not too hard to work around these missing US ingredients. I used grated tasty (strong/vintage) cheddar cheese. The pimentos were easy too. I can buy a jar of fire-roasted red peppers, or even roast and chop red peppers at home.

It often surprises and pleases me to remember how easy it is to make so many different ingredients at home—especially those that we assume can be only store-bought.

La Bonne Cuisine cookbook

My only issue was the suggested 7-inch x 11-inch baking dish. There was no way a whole bird was going to fit in that size pan, so I used a 9 x 13 one. Even that was a stretch, so be sure to use a big enough pan.

This recipe looks rather bland in the main pic, but it’s a tasty and easy-to-make dinner that was enjoyed by everyone. I usually have all the ingredients on hand, so I’ll put this in my lazy-night-dinner file.

Would love to hear other people’s earliest memories. Especially if they have anything to do with food, family or New Orleans. And don’t forget to check out my travel blog.


About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
This entry was posted in Cheese, Dairy, Main dish, Poultry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Jalapeño chicken

  1. Gary Walker says:

    Drats! I just got back from the market and bought two hens for a couple of recipes I’ve planned. The recipe above sounds like a nice dish I would really like. Next time I’m shopping I’ll buy a hen for this recipe for sure. Cajun cuisine is my favorite and Paul Prudhomme is my God!

    In other news… My earliest memory was when I was about 4yo. I would watch by the window for my Great Grandfather (Papa) to drive down the long dirt road to our house. He had a red truck. I would be so excited! I also remember he took a Pepto Bismol pill with every meal and he would give me one, too. To this day, I don’t find the taste of Pepto nasty on the rare occasion I’ve needed some. And Pepsident toothpaste is my favorite! Papa died when I was very young so I don’t have many memories of him but I must have loved him very much for him to have made such an impression on me.

    I think I’ll post a something on my webpage. Stay tuned. ❤

    • leggypeggy says:

      Oh Potsie, that’s a wonderful childhood memory. One of my grandfathers died when I was quite young and I remember him running his general store. Also remember him wearing a long nightshirt and nightcap with a tassel.

  2. Sy S. says:

    Hello LeggyPeggy,

    Well, I now made the time to make this Jalapeno Chicken recipe… and at the top of my comments an excellent, tasty dish and great visual presentation for a chicken dinner! I had two big chicken breasts ( 2lbs) so used this instead of chicken parts. Used chopped olives with pimentos, Jalapeno peppers and it is easy to find Velveeta Cheese in America (but I think this cheese is not to popular any longer, except Americans who like/love Mac and Cheese). After the basic baking, I removed the chicken to slice it three-quarters through and then back into the baking Corningware pot. Then added the cheese and olives, pimento and Jalapeno peppers to finalize the last 15 minutes of cooking. I thought I had added to much cheese, but it was the right amount (small package).

    Further, the chicken breasts were a little to dry, overcooked… and next time I will try using chicken pieces. The final plated dish had a “bed” of Tri-colored Couscous and the chicken breasts placed on top. This is certainly one of the better P32 recipes posted.

    • leggypeggy says:

      Hi Sy
      Thanks so much for making this recipe and especially for enjoying it so much. Glad the cheese amount worked so well. I’m posting the pic you sent. Looks great. Much brighter and cheesier than mine.

      Jalapeño chicken by Sy

  3. Well, since you asked, I must admit to an intense passion for New Orleans. Every time I visit, I feel like I’m home, even though I’m not from there. And the joy of wandering around the French Quarter and studying the posted menus at restaurants and taking two hours to decide where to eat is nirvana to me…

    • leggypeggy says:

      My Aunt Peggy (I was named after her) and Uncle Bo lived in New Orleans when I was a child and later in Gulfport Mississippi, so I have wonderful memories of New Orleans eateries. I can imagine you wandering from menu to menu. Time for a return visit—for you and for me.

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