Maque Choux

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Louisiana is famous – or infamous – for having very hard-to-pronounce names.  That goes for last names of people as well as names of cities and towns.  Most of the confusion is bred because of our fusion of Acadian (Cajun) French, American Indian (lots of different tribes and dialects), and Spanish.  We have city and place names like Natchitoches (NAK-uh-dish), LeCompte (La-COUNT), and Atchafalaya (uh-CHAF-uh-LY-uh).  Family names like Couvillion (COO-vee-yahn), Boudreaux (BOO-droh), and Guillot (GEE-oh).  We’re also the only state divided into parishes instead of counties.

What can I say?  We’re different here.  We like it.

You probably looked at the title of this blog and thought “Mack Chow?”

Sorry.  That’s another of those words.

This one is thought to be a blend of Cajun French and American Indian.  It’s actually pronounced “Mock Shoo.”

Seriously.  It is.

While there are lots of different variations on this dish, one thing stays constant:  it’s made with corn.  In fact, many call this dish Corn Maque Choux.  The usual ingredients, besides corn, are tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, celery. and garlic.  If you’re from Louisiana and that’s not the way you make it, don’t worry.  I talked to eight different people about this recipe and heard eight different ingredient lists.  This is how I make it for my family:

Maque Choux

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely diced
  • 2 cups of onion, chopped
  • 4 cups of corn kernels
  •  2 cups of finely chopped cooked bacon
  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet until butter is melted and sizzling.  Add onions and bell peppers and cook while stirring occasionally until onions are translucent – about five minutes.  Add the corn kernels and bacon and stir to combine.  After ingredients are heated through, add the cream and salt and pepper.  Bring ingredients to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally – or until corn is tender.  Increase heat to high and stir frequently until cream is reduced and thickened.

Well Duh #1:  I used frozen corn because fresh corn is not in season right now.  If fresh corn is available, by all means, use it!  Cut the kernels from the cob carefully with a sharp knife and then run the knife along the cob to remove any “milk” that remains.

Well Duh #2:  Most people add a chopped tomato, but I knew that would cause a full-scale revolt in our house, so I left it out.

Well Duh #3:  You can cook and chop your own bacon or use two 2.5-oz. bags of real bacon pieces.

Well Duh #4:  Lots of people use chicken stock instead of heavy cream.  I chose to use cream because I didn’t have the “milk” from fresh corn.  Besides…it’s heavy cream.  Yum.

I have a corn-loving bunch.  They would eat corn at every meal if it was made available.  Christopher has been known to get a package of frozen corn on the cob (that came from my parents’ garden) and heat it up to eat as a snack.  They were all drawn to the kitchen by the smell of corn while this was cooking.  I love to see them walking in with noses twitching.

Try this yummy traditional Louisiana dish.  You won’t be sorry!

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