Blackened Chicken over Cajun Fettucini Alfredo
It’s pretty rare, but sometimes I get cravings. Cravings that will wake me up in the morning, and consume everything until I feed it. You know this craving, right? It’s the same one that makes you eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s while hiding in the closet. Yeah, that one.
This is the craving monster that took over me this morning. When I woke up, I could only think about spicy blackened chicken sitting on top a pile of fettucini slathered in a spicy Alfredo sauce. Oh, yes. That was whats for dinner.
There is one thing that I hate about Fettucini Alfredo, its packed to the brim with fat and calories… and I mean packed! And like most home cooks out there working towards a ‘lighter’ fare for most dinners, I have attempted to make Alfredo ‘lighter’, but alas, Alfredo will have none of that! I think that we just have to allow Alfredo to be what it is, absolutely delicious, and absolutely fattening. It’s okay, we’re allowed to indulge, if only once a week!
Of course, I cannot make just any Alfredo, around here that will not do! I need it kicked up a notch… It’s got to have some spice. Although I will say it didn’t end up more than a 5 on my spice scale (10 being the hottest, and my 8 year old can handle a good 7). Don’t leave any spices out. It’s perfection, and of course the heart of blackened chicken is the spices, and if you leave any of them out, you’re just eating grilled chicken.
How to get chicken Blackened
The blackened chicken in this recipe has butter in it. Now I know a lot of you out there will get squeemish at the idea of using butter in a seasoning mix, but please trust me when I say, this works, and margarine will not be the same. Not only will the butter make the seasonings stick to the chicken, but it also gives the chicken a nice blackened outside. The other thing is, you must grill this chicken, I am sorry but it really is necessary. Its pretty much impossible to get the chicken to come out looking this good from a stove top. And please, make sure that grill is hot, do not go tossing this beautiful chicken onto a semi warm grill, oy! Not the way to do it. We have a charcoal grill, and it took me an entire summer to really master it. It does take time, and quite a few over cooked burgers (yuck! the worst!), but once you get it figured out, charcoal makes some delicious food.
Okay, so moving on. I think you all got the rules here. Butter, spices and hot grill… a must.
Blackened Spice Mix
1 TBS. Cumin
1/2 t. Paprika
1 t. Dried Oregano
1 t. Chili Powder
1/4 t. Cayenne Powder
1/4 t. Dried Thyme
1/2 t. White Pepper
1/2 t. Onion Powder
1/2 t. Garlic Powder
4 TBS. Butter, melted
3-4 chicken breasts
Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave and dump into the spice mix. Using a fork, stir it all together until its well incorporated. Put the chicken in a large ziplock baggy and dump the spice mix in. Roll it all around until the mix is covering all of the chicken, do not put into the fridge, as this will cool the butter, and it will just crack and fall off the chicken when you transfer it to the grill. Go heat up that grill, and the chicken will wait patiently for you, marinating on the counter. Now while you wait the 15-20 minutes for the grill to get its groove going, start on your alfredo.
Cajun Fettucini Alfredo
1 TBS. Olive Oil
1 large or 2 small Shallots
4 TBS. Butter
1/2 C. Flour
1 1/2 C. Milk (whole or 2%)
1/2 C. Half & Half
2 1/2 C. Asiago & Parmesan cheese
1 t. Chili Powder
1 1/2 t. Curry Powder
1 1/2 t. Ancho Chili Powder
When you cut up your shallots, chop both top and bottom off, then slice it from one side to the other, this will give you the optimum slices to saute into a slightly caramelized onion. I caramelize my onions all the time, I believe the flavor they give is second to none. So I always take the extra time and let them cook, low and slow. Now that your onions are cut and the pan your cooking your alfredo sauce is hot, put in your Olive oil, and the shallots. make sure your heat is somewhere around medium to medium low,stirring occasionally and keeping them piled on top of each other, onions need time to sweat and get sweet. At this point you can get back to your grill and chicken.
Grilling the Chicken & Making the Alfredo
This is easy, theres no special trick, with the grill nice and hot, put the chicken breasts on, then immediately turn it down. If you’re grilling on charcoal, move about half of the briskets to the outside ring, this will give you the medium heat we’re looking for. Put the top on, and let them cook, its about 7 minutes each side. when you see the juices run clear, they’re done. Don’t over cook them! Dried out chicken is not yummy-licious. During this cooking time, keep checking on your onions, and moving them around every couple minutes, making sure to keep them in a pile (this really sweetens the onions up). Get your pasta water going, and follow the directions on the box. Get your chicken done and off the grill before proceeding to the next step of making the alfredo, its going to need all your attention.
When the onions are done, add the butter and let it melt in. Then sprinke the flour on and stir adding the milk. Stir until thick and bubbly. Now add in your cheese and herbs and spices and stir until its all mixed in and thick. This dosent take very long, and keep the heat medium-low or you may scorch the milk. Salt and pepper to taste, and your done. Mix the pasta and alfredo together, plate, and cut up a peice of chicken to lay on top. Add some cheese if you wish.