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St. Joseph’s Vegetables

easoning Mix:
2 Tb. plus 1 tsp. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic
One and one quarter tsp. ground cardamom (1 ¼ tsp)
Three quarter tsp. dry mustard (3/4 tsp)
One quarter tsp. ground allspice (1/4 tsp)

4 Tb. unsalted butter, in all
2 Tb. olive oil
One and one half cup onions, cut into one half inch pieces (1 ½ cup)
1 cup red bell peppers cut into one half inch pieces
1 cup yellow bell peppers cut into one half inch pieces
1 cup green bell peppers cut into one half inch pieces
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into one half inch pieces, about one and one half cup (1 ½ cup)
1 medium butternut squash, cut into one half inch pieces, about 3 cups
5 stalks celery, cut into one half inch pieces, about one and one half cup (1 ½ cup)
1 fennel bulb, cut into one half inch pieces, about 2 cups
1 Tb. minced fresh garlic
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable stock
1 Tb. lightly packed dark brown sugar

Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil in a 14-inch skillet of 5 quart pot, preferably nonstick, over high heat. As soon as the butter begins to sizzle, add all the vegetables and the seasoning mix. Stir well, then cover and cook, uncovering to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan frequently for 4 minutes. You will see that the vegetable color is a little brighter and their texture is somewhat tenderer, and the fragrance is crisp and earthly. Continue to cook, still uncovering to stir and scrape, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 4 minutes longer. Now the fennel will be wilted, transparent and tender, and the bottom of the pan will be dry. At this point the vegetables are partially cooked, but still retain some of their crunch. Along with the vegetables natural taste there is a subtle taste of anise from the fennel and the beginning of a brown flavor. The finish is a light herbal taste from the seasonings which almost sparkle on the tongue.

Add the tomato sauce, stir, re-cover and cook, uncovering every 2-3 minutes to stir, scrape and check to be sure the mixture is not going to scorch- just until the vegetables are pasty and thickly coated with sauce, and the liquid has evaporated, about 7-8 minutes. If you feel that there might be a risk of over-browning, then lower the heat slightly. Add the stock, brown sugar, and the remaining 2 Tb. butter.
This red sauce will have a lovely sweet taste, notice how the brown sugar counteracts and balances the acidity of the tomatoes. The undertone is like browned flour. In a few minutes, each of the tastes will blend together to make a rich and complex set of flavors for the final dish. Stir very well and cook just until the butter is thoroughly melted into the sauce and the vegetables are tender, except for the celery which should still have a little crunch, about 2-3 minutes. Serve hot over pasta. 


Bronzed Chicken Breasts

Makes 4 servings

4 Tb. melted unsalted butter or oil of your choice

8 boneless, skinless, breast halves (about 3 ounces each) about one half to three quarters inch thick (1/2-3/4 inch thick)- you may pound the breast a little to even out the thickness.  Best if near room temperature.

1 Tb. plus 1 tsp. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Poultry Magic or Meat Magic or Barbecue Magic or any of your favorite season blends.

Heat heavy griddle or skillet to about 350 degree F over medium to high heat or use an electric skillet.

When griddle or skillet is heated, lightly coat each chicken breast half (both sides) with melted butter or oil.  With chicken in your hand, sprinkle the oiled breast evenly with about one half tsp. (1/2 tsp) of your Magic Seasoning Blend and place the seasoned side down in the hot skillet.  Then, season top side of the breast.

Cook chicken until underside is bronze in color, 2-3 minutes (watch and you will see the white line coming up the sides as the chicken cooks; when the line is about half way up the thickness, the chicken is ready to be turned)
Cook until done, 2-3 minutes more.  Serve immediately; allowing 2 breast halves per person.  Do not overcook!  Chicken should be very juicy. 
Note: Any of the Magic Seasoning Blends will work well. 


Blackened Fish Filets

Makes 6 servings

If you don’t have a commercial hood vent over your stove, this dish will set off every smoke alarm in your neighborhood!  It’s better to cook it outdoors on a gas grill, a butane burner, or a charcoal grill, but you’ll need to make the coals hotter by giving them extra air (a normal charcoal fire doesn’t get hot enough to “blacken” the fish properly) Meanwhile heat your cast-iron skillet as hot as possible on your kitchen stove, at least 10 minutes.  When the coals are glowing, use very thick potholders to carefully transfer the hot skillet to the grill.  You can also make this a reduced fat dish simple by spraying both sides of the fish filets with nonstick cooking spray (instead of using butter) before applying the seasoning.

3 Tb. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic Seasoning or Blackened Redfish Magic or Meat Magic, or Barbecue Magic, or Fajita Magic, or Magic Seasoning Salt, or Magic Salt-Free Seasoning.
One half stick unsalted butter (melted) or oil  (1/2 stick)
6 (8-10 ounces) fish filets (such as red snapper, catfish, redfish, salmon, ahi tuna steaks, mahimahi or any other firm fleshed fish) at room temperature, cut about one half inch thick (1/2 inch)

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over very high heat until it is extremely hot,
with a spoon spread a little of the butter or oil on each side of the filets.  Sprinkle one side with the Magic Seasoning Blend and place the filet in the heated skillet seasoned side down.  Sprinkle the top sides with the remaining Magic Seasoning Blend.  Cook- turning frequently until the fish starts to flake, about 4 minutes.  Repeat with remaining filets.  Serve each filet while piping hot. 
Special note from Chef Paul Prudhomme: Because this method is simple, any variation will make a dramatic difference.  Be sure the skillet is hot enough and absolutely dry.  Be sure not to over season- the herbs and spices should highlight the taste rather than hide it or overpower it.  You don’t need to overcook the filet- there is a big difference between blackened and burned.  Avoid a burned, bitter taste by wiping out the skillet between batches. 


Candied Pecans

Makes about one and one quarter pound (1 1/4 lbs.)

Seasoning Mix:
1 Tb. plus 2 tsp. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Pork & Veal Magic seasoning
1 Tb. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Barbecue Magic
1 tsp. ground chipotle chili (plus extra for sprinkling)
1 pound pecans
One and one half cup light brown sugar, packed (1 ½ cup)
5 Tb. unsalted butter
One quarter cup heavy cream (1/4 cup)

Combine the seasoning ingredients and mix well.
Toast the pecans in a skillet, or roast in the oven until they are turning light golden brown and giving off a rich, nutty aroma. Combine the butter, cream, and sugar in a skillet over high heat and stir until melted. Add half of the seasoning and stir in well. Then add the pecans and toss until thoroughly coated. Cook until the sugar is sticky and caramelized, then place on a sheet pan in a single layer to cool. Sprinkle with the remaining seasoning mix, then sprinkle lightly with chipotle chili. 


Creole Vinaigrette and Candied Pecans

Makes about 1 one half cups (1 ½ cup)

One half cup olive oil, extra virgin (1/2 cup)
One half cup balsamic vinegar (1/2 cup)
2 Tb. cane syrup
4 Tb. Creole mustard
2 Tb. light brown sugar
1 Tb. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Vegetable Magic seasoning
1 tsp. black pepper.

Combine all ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended.