Welcome back to my wonderful blog! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve penned a new recipe for the hungry, humble souls that frequent this space. I’m deeply sorry for that, as I know that there’s some of you out there who wait with bated breath for what I suggest that you eat next. In fact, there’s at least one reader who hasn’t eaten a single morsel since I posted my recipe for fairy bread.
“Hi! I do love your food recipes! They’ve changed my life in ways I don’t know words to express. Your food is so good I have’t eaten since your last food post. Is there any chance you could post a new recipe? I’m getting quite hungry.”
Jan I. from Urtehonly, TN
Jan, know that I’m here for you. And know that I won’t make you suffer through an unreasonably long story that has nothing to do with my recipe like most food bloggers before letting you get to today’s recipe, which is blackened chicken alfredo.
But first, a story.
Back in 1798, the fledgling United States of America faced a decision. Would the nation, along with its then 16 states, become a nation built to become a tea powerhouse? Or would it rely on getting its tea from non-American sources.
You may or may not be familiar with the USA’s history with tea. In 1773, a bunch of drunk guys from Boston — and yes, I know that’s redundant — decided they wanted to make the world’s largest pot of tea. Because if there’s one thing that America’s good at, it’s breaking Guinness World Records. Anyway, the Brits, who apparently thought they owned the USA at that point told the drunks that the record didn’t count because they didn’t use a regulation-sized tea kettle. So when the Redcoats knocked on our door to start the Revolutionary War, we came outside and rang the doorbell because freedom doesn’t knock, freedom rings. And the USA never did anything that embarrassed the nation on a global scale ever again.
Moving back into 1798, the USA looked a lot different than it does today. We hadn’t yet completed the Louisiana Purchase, Ohio hadn’t yet become something people make fun of, and our national BMI average was only slightly obese. But there was a debate over tea. This wasn’t a taxation issue like the Revolutionary War. This isn’t the same as the modern day coffee vs. tea vs. cocoa vs. bourbon debate. This wasn’t even about telling gossipy rumors about other people that you clearly shouldn’t say. Nope.
This is about New Orleans.
I know what you’re thinking. Tim, New Orleans wasn’t part of the United States in 1798. You know what they say though — once part of America, always part of America. So even though New Orleans wasn’t officially part of the USA in 1798, it was in spirit. And what did that American spirit smell like? Baseball? Apple pie? Sawdust? Human rights violations that people conveniently ignore because they happen to people whose skin color doesn’t match their own?
It was tea. Delicious, warm, tea. But New Orleans is not a city conducive to drinking warm liquids. While I’ve never been to New Orleans myself, I have been to Miami, which is basically a less cultured New Orleans. I was sweating the second I got off the plane — and the airport was air conditioned! So instead of making hot tea like many people drink, or even instead of making cold tea as the Bostonian patriots did, the citizens of New Orleans dried their tea and turned it into a seasoning for their food.
It wasn’t long before the people of New Orleans realized that grinding up tea leaves and using them as a way to give your meat a good ol’ rub didn’t make the meat taste any better. Eventually, they replaced tea with spices of the land, such as paprika and onion powder, spices of the air, such as smoked paprika and smoked onion powder, and spices of the sea, such as sea salt and sea vinegar. And thus the great tradition of blackened seasoning was born.
But Tim — blackened seasoning isn’t black — you say, incredulously.
And you’re right, dear reader. I’ll have you know that Jan is getting hungry, so I really wish you wouldn’t take up all this time with silly statements that cause me to go off on tangents, thus preventing her from getting food. Yet here we are.
It’s called blackened seasoning because of what happens to the spices after you cook them, typically on a grill or in a frying pan. Blackened seasoning is typically made from a blend of spices that causes your eyes to undergo an illusory transformation when you add heat to them. While the spices don’t actually change colors themselves — that would just be ridiculous — your eyes will see the spices in a different light, much like humans think that chameleons actually change color and blend into their surroundings. They haven’t changed colors. We’ve just stopped caring about them.
Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s get on to making our blackened chicken alfredo. We’re going to do this from scratch, just like the citizens of New Orleans would have in 1798.
The Blackened Seasoning
To make the blackened seasoning, just follow these simple steps:
- Drive to your local grocery store
- Walk down the spice aisle
- Locate a suitable brand of blackened seasoning — remember, expensive brands are better because they cost more
- Grab enough blackened seasoning containers to total somewhere between 12 and 16 ounces
- Pay for your spices
- Drive home
- Empty your store-bought blackened seasoning into an empty, sterilized, artisan mason jar
- Add a ring and seal to close the jar airtight
- Cut an 8 to 12-inch strand of ribbon of the color of your choosing1Except black. It’s blackened seasoning, not a funeral, Melissa. and tie a bow around the jar near the lid
- Locate one of your pre-made mason jar labeling cards that you have laying around the house
- Use a black permanent marker to give your spice jar an artsy name
We haven’t talked much about meat on this blog and for good reason. People have a lot of opinions about meat. Some people think it’s only eaten by the uncivilized and brutish. Others think the only good animal is one that you can cover in barbecue sauce. Still others just want everyone else to shut up and let them eat their food in peace.
Look. I understand that there’s a major environmental impact that eating meat has. And part of me doesn’t like eating meat for that reason. But there’s another part of me that really fucking likes adobo chicken, bacon, and a properly cooked steak2Rule #2 of the internet: Always refer to how you like your steak as ‘properly cooked’, but don’t share what properly cooked means. No matter how you like your steak, you will piss someone off.. So, as with most things in life, perhaps moderation would be good here.
So about cooking that chicken. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- Your blackened seasoning from the above step
- 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2-3 tablespoons of butter
Coat your chicken very generously in the blackened seasoning. You should be able to slap the chicken breast, have enough blackened seasoning fall off that it coats your dog that’s sitting on the floor, and still not be able to see the chicken underneath. I’m serious.
Melt your butter in a large, heavy, ripping hot skillet on high heat. Please note that you will set off every smoke detector in your house, apartment, condo, or local park making this chicken. This is the “love” everyone talks about that they add to their food. Or it might be panic sweat. I can’t really taste the difference.
Put the chicken in the pan and cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t try to be a hero and cook your chicken medium rare. That’s actually an obscure Italian cooking style called pollo con salmonella. If you’re not Italian, it’s against the Geneva Convention for you to make it. If you are Italian, stop showing off and just make the chicken the way I asked you to.
The Alfredo Noodles and Sauce
The Italians I mentioned in the last paragraph have already stopped listening to me and started making their own noodles and sauce. For the rest of us — and by the rest of us, I mean people who don’t have all day to cook — the key to making both your sauce and your pasta homemade while still having time to live your life is resourcefulness. Everyone has that one neighbor who leaves an apple pie out on their window ledge to cool. I’ve seen it in cartoons, so it must be true. Anyway, wait until they leave a freshly cooked pot of pasta on their window, then snatch it for your dish. Radiatori cooked al dente is preferred, but window scavengers can’t be choosers.
As for your alfredo sauce, it really is quite a simple sauce to make, requiring only two ingredients. Here’s the thing: they’re both in the name!
- Alfredo = al fredo = with Fred-o
- Sauce = sauce
Based off of this I recommend going on Craiglist, Fiverr, or Tinder and finding some guy named Fred to make your alfredo sauce for you. It’s in their blood. That said, if you’re pressed for time, bringing a half cup of butter, a cup and a half of heavy whipping cream, a metric fuckton of garlic, some salt, some pepper, and a half metric fuckton of parmesan cheese should get you there too.
Once you have all the steps above completed, cut your chicken into small strips and serve over a heaping bowl full of your alfredo noodles and sauce.
When you post this beautiful dish on your social media — and I know you will — be sure to use my hashtag #IMadeBlackenedChickenAllByMyselfWithTheHelpOfOnlyThatTinyWebsiteTheMcCormickCorporationSomeChickensFredAndMyNeighborsWindowPasta so I see it3After publishing this post, it seems that Twitter has implemented a new feature that limits the length of hashtags, meaning you cannot tweet this hashtag, because it it too long. Or too awesome. Please share your displeasure with this policy on Twitter by using the hashtag #FuckOffWithYourHashtagLengthLimitsTwitter..
A. C. Tully
The actual recipes that are parodied in this post can be found by clicking on the links below. No slight to the recipes I’ve linked — they seem like quality food how-tos. They just served as a base for me to be comically stupid.