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Recipe: Cajun Pasta Sauce

The recipe makes about 4 + cups. It looks like a lot of work. It isn’t – lots of the details here are just hints. It’s derived from Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun cooking style. Amounts of some ingredients aren’t specified. The recipe has a lot of “give.” Use more or less of things that feel right. The sauce is rich and flavorful and can be pushed in many different ways.

You’ll only need a fraction of the recipe for 4 servings. It freezes well. There’s always a cup or three in our freezer.

Spice Mix – more or less equal amounts of each of the following. A generous ½ teaspoon of each should work. Increase or decrease amounts of any, depending on mood and “tilt” of the sauce. If using fresh herbs, increase amounts a bit. Spices that I like to add more of are marked with an asterisk. There’s lots of flexibility here and you can tweak the mix to suit taste.

*cumin, ground

curry powder

onion, powdered

garlic, powdered

black pepper

white pepper

*cayenne pepper


mustard, powdered (Coleman’s preferred)

*paprika (Hungarian, hot)





Green onions – 4 - 6 bunches, sliced thinly

Chicken thighs – about 4 pounds or so, skinless, boneless and cut into bite-sized pieces. Dust with half the spice mix in a bowl and set aside. You can use breasts or a mix but I prefer all thigh meat.

Tomato sauce – 2 or 3 28-oz cans. I prefer Hunts.

Chicken broth – 2+ c. Home-made best, Swanson’s okay, others acceptable

Onions – 2 large, chopped, medium dice (can use either yellow or white – I prefer yellow)

Garlic – 4 - 5 cloves, smashed and chopped

Peanut or canola oil – as needed (use an oil that can take high temperatures)

Butter – as needed

Worcestershire sauce – 4 - 5 good “schlocks”

Tabasco (or other) hot sauce – 4 - 5 good “schlocks” (Sriracha preferred)

White wine for deglazing


Heat a mix of oil and butter in a large, heavy duty pot, big enough the hold the final sauce. Sauté onions and garlic with the other half of the spice mix. Cook till just beginning to brown. See * below on controlling thickness of final sauce.

Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, about half the chopped green onions, Worcestershire and Tabasco (or Sriracha) sauces. Best to go easy with these last two ingredients. Taste and adjust after flavors meld. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add butter and/or oil. When just about at smoking temperature, add the chicken pieces. Cook, stirring, till they begin to brown.

Add the rest of the green onions to skillet and continue cooking until the scallions get dark.

Add the chicken/scallion mix to the tomato sauce.

Return skillet to heat and deglaze with white wine, scraping up fond. Add to sauce.

Simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.


Excellent with pasta – texture goes well with a linguini or fettuccini. Garnish with chopped scallions and parsley. Some like to add parmesan. That’s okay, but in my mind it’s best left alone at this point.

*If you like pasta sauces thick add a T (or more) of flour to the onion/garlic sauté just when it starts to brown. Cook it a bit and then add a bit of the chicken broth. It’ll give you a nice roux-like mix. Then adjust the amount of chicken broth to control the thickness.

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