We used to go to this great bar and grill that had the most awesome Cajun blackened chicken sandwiches. Spicy and flavorful and smothered in cheese and peppers and onions, it was an instant favorite for us- we never ordered anything else.
Unfortunately, the place closed down shortly after we'd discovered it, so I set about mimicking the recipe the best I could. After a couple tweaks through various attempts, we ended up with something that's a really close approximation…and converting the recipe to be caveman-friendly was easy enough.
The original chicken recipe is blackened by using sugar in the spice mixture and searing it off in a cast iron skillet. The problem we always ran into was the process of blackening created so much smoke that we would all be coughing fitfully, even with every available window open and the fan in the stove hood running. Grilling never yielded the right results as we couldn't blacken the spice without overcooking the meat. Toting the cast-iron skillet out to the firepit and place it directly on the wood coals yielded better results, but it was a pain to try and control the heat to blacken-but-not-char the chicken breasts.
Since the sugar is a paleo no-no, this version of the recipe is much easier to prepare and takes the smoke-filed house and coughing fits out of the equation.
Plus, it's really, really good.
The list of ingredients is kinda long, but it's mostly the spice mixture. You can use an a store-bought Cajun spice blend instead, but I find that those are fairly hit-and-miss in terms of both taste and heat.
The spice is a blend of salt, garlic and onion powder, black and cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, and paprika (I like to use a smoked paprika). Once the spices are mixed up, the peppers and onions get chopped up.
The chicken breasts should be brought to room temperature and then pounded out to a thickness of about a half-inch; they can be trimmed at this point if need be.
While a good, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast-iron is preferred) is heating over medium-high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and mix with the 4 tablespoons of hotsauce.
Dip each chicken breast in the butter/hotsauce mixture, turning to coat, then season on both sides with the cajun seasoning.
Lay the chicken down in the hot pan, leaving some space between each one (no overcrowding, please!). Let cook about 4 minutes, and then add the rest of the butter and the onions to the pan, sprinkling the veggies with the remainder of the seasoning mix.
Give the veggies a good stir to coat them as the butter melts in the pan, scooting them around and flipping them as best you can. When the chicken looks to be cooked nearly half through, flip them over.
Continue to stir the onions and peppers occaisionally as the chicken finishes cooking. Push the chicken to one side of the pan and top with provelone slices.
Continue cooking the peppers and onions until soft; spoon over the chicken and serve.
Are you drooling yet?
Chris likes his on toasted betty bread, with some barbecue sauce and baby spinach and tomaotes.
Personally, I prefer mine on a salad. Less carb-y, and equally delicious! Chris laughs at me, but I don't bother with dressing… just some sliced pickles (yes, in my salad!) and a squirt of ketchup, and it's delicious!
4 boneless chicken breasts
8 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
4 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika ( I use smoked paprika)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 slices provolone cheese
Let the chicken come to room temperature before using, and pound to 1/2 inch thickness. Trim if necessary.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat.
Combine all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
In a separate, larger bowl,combine 4 Tbs melted butter with hot sauce, and coat the chicken pieces thoroughly.
Season both sides of the chicken with the seasoning and then place into the hot skillet to sear.
Drizzle a small amount of butter on top of each piece, and cook until a good crust has formed on the bottom of the chicken.
Add peppers, onions, remaining butter and remaining seasoning to skillet, stirring the peppers and onions around a bit.
Flip the chicken to finish cooking, and stir the veggies occasionally.
When all chicken is all finished, move the chicken to the side of the pan and cover with a slice of provolone.
Continue cooking the onions and peppers until they soften a bit.
Top each chicken breast with some peppers and onions, and serve.