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Cajun Cooking in Chicago

Jimmy Bannos is experiencing a "Heaven on Seven" - that he's happy to share with all.  A chef and Cajun culturalist since meeting his mentor the legendary chef Paul Prudhomme, Bannos serves up in his kitchen some authentic New Orleans style food in his restaurant.

However, Bannos cooks in the city where deep dish pizza is king.  But that's hardly evident from the crowds that gather to watch this "ragin' Cajun."   Independent producer Sean Powers cooks up this tasty story.

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Find your "Ragin' Cajun" with the following recipes:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons Angel Dust
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon onion salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a bowl. Use and needed and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to several months.

2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 1/2 teaspoons seeded and minced jalapenos
4 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Prepare the Honey-Jalapeno Dressing by whisking the mayonnaise with the cream in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and refrigerate.

3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
5 teaspoons salt
1¼ teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Use as needed and store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

4 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 ½ teaspoons Angel Dust Cajun Seasoning
Double recipe of seasoned flour (see recipe)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups canola oil
Place chicken breasts on a jelly roll pan. Season both sides of chicken breasts with 2 teaspoons Angel Dust.  Place the seasoned flour in a 9 x 9 inch pan. Beat the eggs, water and remaining Angel Dust in a pie plate.  In a 12-inch cast-iron pan or large nonstick sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. While the oil is heating, bread each breast by dredging it in the seasoned flour, dipping it into the egg mixture, then coating it again with the seasoned flour. Return each breast to the jellyroll pan until ready to cook. Fry one at a time until golden brown, about 6 minutes, turning once halfway through. Transfer to a heatproof platter and keep warm in a 200-degree oven until all chicken is cooked.

6 cups mixed greens (combination of Mesclun mix, romaine hearts, iceberg and green leaf lettuce)
2 plum tomatoes cut in six wedges
4 large mushrooms, sliced
12 Kalamata olives
8 cherry peppers
Distribute salad ingredients evenly among four salad bowls. Slice fried chicken breasts into strips and place on top of salads. Dress with Honey-Jalapeno Dressing.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into *-inch cubes
4 1/2 Teaspoons of Angel Dust Cajun Seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Andouille, cut into ¼ inch slices
1cup diced yellow onion
¾ cup thinly sliced green onion, white and green parts
½ cup diced red onion
2 cups seeded, diced green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 tablespoon seeded, minced jalapeno
1 tablespoon Roasted-Garlic Puree
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small bay leaf
6 1/3 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Dark Roux
1/4 teaspoon file powder (see note)
White Rice

Toss the chicken and 4 teaspoons of the Cajun seasoning together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. In a large (7- quart) heavy Dutch oven, preferably enameled cast iron, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the andouille and brown for 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the seasoned chicken and cook for 4 minutes; add the onions and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Mix in the bell peppers, celery, jalapeno, and garlic puree, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the basil, oregano, ground black and white peppers, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning; cook for 2 minutes more. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in the roux a little at a time and stir continuously for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the file powder. (Do not let the mixture boil once you have added the file powders.) Remove the bay leaf. Serve with cooked white rice.

Note: Fill powder is the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree and imparts an unusual but pleasing flavor. It should be stirred into a dish at the end of cooling. Boiling the file makes it tough and stringy.  To reheat refrigerated gumbo, thin with stock or wafer and reheat gently.

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