Toss in variety of vegetables to make Cajun maque choux

DINNER TONIGHT

August 08, 2007|By Robin Mather Jenkins

Here's a dish to customize as your garden or farmers' market suggests. It's a vegetable saute based on the Cajun favorite maque choux (mock-SHOE). Most authorities agree that "maque choux" isn't a French name; rather, it's a Francophone spelling of an Indian word, adopted by the French Acadians. Its original meaning is lost.

Its only critical elements are corn, peppers and onions. Have tomatoes? Add tomatoes, or serve sliced ones on the side. Have leftover chicken, pork or beef? Add it too, or use smoked sausage, bits of ham, hard-cooked egg or whatever else strikes your fancy.

We started with diced bacon and found that gave us enough meatiness to make it work as a main dish.

Robin Mather Jenkins writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.

Main-dish maque choux

Serves 2 -- Total time: 30 minutes

4 strips bacon, diced

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 each, chopped: green bell pepper, red bell pepper, jalapeno

4 ears corn, husked

1/2 teaspoon each: fresh thyme, salt

freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed

Cook the bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until almost crisp, about 5 minutes; add celery, onion and peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut kernels from corn, then use the dull side of the knife to press the corn "milk" from the cob. Add both to the skillet, stirring to blend.

Season with thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until vegetables begin to brown, about 8-9 minutes. Remove from heat. Tear the basil leaves into pieces over the vegetables.

Per serving: 320 calories, 11 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 14 milligrams cholesterol, 49 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams protein, 931 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber

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