Sunday, November 11, 2012

Maque Choux

That's French for Native American corn as interpreted along Cajun byways as far as any one can make out.  Its also a great side dish for Thanksgiving or Fall meals that blends native ingredients and know how with ingredients and techniques brought to our continent from the 'old world.' 

Every family has a few “obligatory” items  at holiday dinners but as more of us explore varied diets, its nice to mix up the menu and audition some newcomers.   Even if you’ve never had maque choux, you have probably had a corn salad dish derived from this hot combo hatched in Cajun country.

My friend Pam, who brought this colorful side dish to a recent fall party where we were guests, told me that every recipe she found for the dish was different.  Good evidence that the dish has traveled well and adapted to available ingredients.  In fact, Pam herself substituted red for the green pepper and yellow corn for shoepeg.  Everything else she had on hand.  No andouille sausage?  Try chorizo or bacon.  Leave it out for a vegetarian version. 

Maque Choux
This recipe was a prize winner in the December 2001 issue of Southern Living.  Use it your base recipe and add, subtract and substitute as suits your guests.

1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups frozen shoepeg corn, thawed
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 pound andouille sausage, cooked and diced
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Saut√© onion and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 8 minutes or until tender. 
  2. Add corn, tomato, and sausage; cook, stirring often, 15 minutes. 
  3. Stir in green onions, salt, and pepper; cook 5 minutes.

This dish comes together quickly.  In fact, this is one of those dishes that can be prepped ahead of time and cooked while the turkey rests before carving.  It can also be made in advance and reheated. 

Thanks Pam!