Sunday, April 14, 2013

Georgia Byrd's Chicken Tchoupitoulas Pasta for Movie Inspired #SundaySupper


Some people might say the best summer of their life was travelling to an exotic location, or one of those high school summers filled with a new romance at the beach.  Or maybe even just a staycation, catching up on your reading list and sleeping until ten every day.
  
But the best summer of my life...

was in summer school. 

And yes, I said summer school.  But this wasn't just any school... it was film school.
When I was 30, I went back to school to finally get my degree.  I planned to get a degree in Atmospheric Science (inspired by my smartie Pop, who was an Aerospace Engineer- I know!) And I had even hoped to some day be on the Weather Channel... ahem. Hey, it could have happened.

But after my first news writing course, I was hooked.  I immediately switched my major to Mass Communication and gleefully signed up for 3 film classes for the summer semester.

6 weeks of watching and discussing films all day long.  And getting lost in the place you only find when you're sitting in the dark, with a big screen and so many surround sound speakers that you feel like you are right there with Georgia in the church singing "Why Lord," on the dam when Kragen chickens out of base jumping, and when Sean finds Georgia's "possibilities" book.

So, this week I was so excited to find out that our #SundaySupper theme, hosted by one of my favorite food bloggers, Heather from girlichef, is all about food inspired by the movies.


And my pick, while it may not have been one of the "classics" I studied in school, has all of the elements that makes it a hit... romance, drama, some tears, comedy, a few nail-biting moments, and most of all... FOOD!
Georgia Byrd is a hero of mine.  There are countless gems in this film, but in the end it all boiled down to a good-hearted woman that figured out who she really was and...
  
took chances,


lived life large... and wasn't afraid of butter,


and got over her fears to really live her dream.


So, when it came time to pick a recipe inspired by this movie, I couldn't help but go with Chicken Tchoupitoulas.  This was a dish that Georgia (and Queen Latifah) learned to make for the actual movie... they even had Food Network staff on location to help with all the foodie scenes. 

And then I decided to kick it up a few notches (Emeril style) making it a Chicken Tchoupitoulas Pasta.

But, what is a Tchoupitoulas. anyways?
(pronounced CHOP-it-TOO-luhs)

It's a pretty simple sauce... just a lot of butter, Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper.
And, in my version, I changed out the traditional bread pudding for pasta (check out the fun shape I used- it was a perfect combination with the cream and heat!), greens for spinach, and spicy sausage or taso ham for thick cut bacon (because everything is better with bacon!). Then I added a Cajun tomato cream sauce with some of my favorite flavors like fresh tarragon, shallots and caramelized onions.  Oh, and don't forget the butter.  A whole stick.  Yes, this is the type of dish I'd eat every single day if, like Georgia, I found out I didn't have long to live.


(The tomato paste showed up late for the group photo... show-off!!)


I think Georgia Byrd would be proud.

Best. Pasta. Ever.


Georgia Byrd's Chicken Tchoupitoulas Pasta
6 slices thick cut bacon
1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 sweet yellow onion, cut into thin half moons
Cajun seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's Original Creole seasoning)
Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup butter, divided
Olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon corn starch
A few handfuls of fresh spinach
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, rough chopped
1 pound dried pasta (I used calamarata pasta which is shaped like calamari... and it was the perfect choice with the richness and heat)

In a large skillet fry the bacon until cooked through.  Set aside.  To the bacon grease add the cut onion and cook over medium heat until caramelized for about 15 minutes.  In the meantime, cut up the chicken and put the pasta on to boil in a stockpot.  Once onion is caramelized add in 1/2 a stick of butter and the chicken.  Sprinkle chicken with Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper (I added about 1/2 tsp. Cajun and 1/8 tsp cayenne... remember, these are spicy so adjust to taste).  Salt and pepper and cook until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken and onions from pan and set aside.

To pan, add in 1/2 stick of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add in shallots and cook over medium heat until softened.  Then add in garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream and add in the tomato paste.  Season with salt, pepper and more Cajun seasoning as desired. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to medium.  Add in corn starch and cook until thickened, stirring often. The last few minutes of cooking time, add in the fresh tarragon.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to stockpot.  Add in the chicken and onions, then add in the bacon, which has been roughly chopped.  Stir in the fresh spinach and sauce.  Season as needed, and serve.

Want more movie-inspired recipes?  Check these out!
  
 Toast (bready things)
No Reservations (soups and salads)
Today's Special (fish, chicken, beef, and pork)
Forks Over Knives (veggie-heavy dishes and sides)
Udon (pasta and noodles)
Just Desserts (sweet treats)
Bottle Shock (beverages)

40 comments:

  1. Great looking pasta dish!I like a little heat in my pasta and this looks just wonderful. I picked some of that calamarata pasta a couple of months ago and really never been terribly happy with it in standard pasta dishes... (it's a little too thick for my normal uses) but something with some heft like you sauce would be just the ticket! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Toby! I agree on the thickness of the calamarata for most dishes, but wow, in this case, it made it soooo yummy! ;-)

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  2. I want this...NOW! Saved...I'm a sucker for Cajun food, so I know Michael would love this. I think I have all the ingredients on hand to make this, actually!

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    1. That is so great on having them all on hand, Wendy! Let me know how you and Michael like it! ;-)

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  3. Anything you want to call Cajun and add butter and cream to, I'm in! What a great dish inspired by an inspirational movie! We could all live a little more large, don't you think?

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    1. Yes, a great reminder to live life to the fullest every day, Stacy! ;-) Thank you!

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  4. Oh my gosh, Di - this was an absolutely perfect idea for a post this week! I love Last Holiday, and I've been wanting to try Chicken Tschoupitoulas...your pasta totally has my mouth watering out of control - it looks amazing!

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    1. Thank you so much Heather!!! I think you'll love this! I've always been scared to try it as it seemed like it would be difficult. But after doing some research, I found it's so easy! What a great #SundaySupper theme... thanks for hosting!

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  5. I love how unique this pasta dish is!

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    1. Thank you Amanda! It was so fun to play around with, and probably my favorite pasta creation yet! ;-)

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  6. What a beautiful pasta dish and lovely story of your favorite summer.

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    1. Thanks Renee! I hope you enjoy it, and appreciate you stopping by!

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  7. Wow, do I love this movie. And your pasta dish is gorgeous--simply gorgeous. I'm wanting to watch "Last Holiday" again. Thanks for reminding me of this enjoyable movie!

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    1. Me too!!! It was a toss up between Last Holiday and The Holiday- both favorites, but Last Holiday had all that yummy food ;-)

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  8. We adore pasta and this recipe looks amazing!

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    1. Total comfort food! I think you'll like it, simple, makes a ton and has a nice heat to it ;-)

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  9. I can not wait to try this! I could live on Tony Chachere's. I use it on so many things lol. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Shannon! I think you'll love it! And this was my first time using Tony Chachere's... total yum! ;-)

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  10. The way I love to eat pasta, this is a stunning recipe. What a gorgeous meal Di! One more movie to watch...

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    1. Thank you so much Paula! If you can find the calamarata it's worth it! And yes... you will LOVE this movie!!! ;-)

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  11. Here is another movie I have to watch!! And a pasta I have to cook!! Thanks for sharing on #SundaySupper!!

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    1. Thanks Tara! Such a great foodie movie ;-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Wow, this looks like one scrumptious pasta...I just know I'd be licking my plate clean. And thanks for the pronunciation :)

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    1. ;-) Yes, hard to say... and hard to spell. I think I've finally got it down now lol! Thanks for stopping by Liz!

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  13. This looks incredible!!! I love this dish. I have to give this a try asap.

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    1. Thank you so much Megan! So much fun to play around with flavors... and have it come out so yummy! Enjoy it ;-)

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  14. Your cheery post and pasta dish have lifted my spirits, Diana. You've also inspired me to actually treat myself to a movie. You described it so well. There's something about sitting in that dark theatre in front of the silver screen =)

    Anyway, love your recipe and I'm positive my Dad and stepmom (who I'll visit shortly in Florida) will too.

    P.s. Interesting tidbit regarding Food Network staff on set to assist Georgia/Queen Latifah.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kim! I hope you check out the movie, and enjoy the pasta with your family! As always, loved your #SundaySupper post and recipe too! ;-)

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  15. What a joyous movie the "Last Holiday" was! And your dish looks fantabulous. I must try!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Martin! And love the "fantabulous!" ;-) Hope you enjoy it!!!

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  16. Great movie!! Great dish to go with a great movie!! Looks yummy.

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    1. Thanks Tammi! I hope you enjoy it ;-)

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  17. Wow, this looks so fabulous my mouth is actually watering. Sounds like another great movie I've never seen!

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    1. Lol! Yes, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it again! ;-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. What an absolutely beautiful plate of food! I am definitely craving this dish...it looks like perfection!

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    1. Thank you so much, Katie! I hope you give it a try... it's worth it! ;-)

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    1. Thanks Conni!!! Hope you enjoy it ;-)

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  20. Wow...sounds so comforting and indulgent. And I've never seen that pasta shape...must look for it now! Is it like an oversized rigatoni?

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    1. Thanks Amy, we loved it so much we're making it again this weekend! And I had never seen this pasta before either, but found it at The Fresh Market, and it wasn't very expensive. You can kind of tell in my ingredient picture, but it's actually a thick circular shape, almost like calamari ;-) You actually even boil it longer than regular pasta because it is thicker!

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