Cajun chicken often features in restaurant menus world over be it cajun chicken salads and cajun chicken pasta – perhaps it is their piquant flavor that makes these menu items so appealing? It is in fact not just ‘Cajun spice’ that constitutes Cajun Chicken or accounts for its unique flavor – but rather it’s cooking process called ‘blackening’. This cooking technique associated with traditional Cajun cuisine accounts for the unique flavor of this dish and the characteristic dark brown color of the meat crust when the combination of butter and spices are charred.
Cajun cuisine boasts culinary influences from French, Native American, Caribbean, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, African, Philippine and South Indian cuisines. As a result this fusion kitchen consists of a variety of taste and flavor sensations. A cajun spice mix usually comprises of thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, peppercorns, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. For this recipe I have used paprika, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, fresh garlic, salt and oregano. While Cajun chicken is often prepared on high heat in a skillet but can be replicated in the oven when making whole roasted Cajun chicken (like this recipe).
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Total time: 70 minutes
Yield: Serves 4-6
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 tablespoons butter + 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 2 cloves garlic grated
1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
2. Combine the paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme and salt to form cajun mix. Mix to combine. Set aside until needed.
3. Wash, prepare and clean the chicken.
4. Add the grated garlic to the Cajun mix.
5. Melt 1 tablespoon butter on low heat then combine with half the cajun spice mix. Apply the remaining spice underneath the skin of the chicken then dot with remaining butter (1 teaspoon). Apply the butter spice mixture over the external surface of the chicken.
6. Place chicken in the oven. Turn the heat up to 180 degrees Celsius (or suitable time depending on your oven’s optimum cooking functions). Cooking time may vary depending on the weight of the chicken. Essentially chicken meat is cooked once it reaches 90 degrees Celsius. I used a 1.2 kg chicken which cooked in 90 minutes.
7. After 15 minutes in the oven turn the chicken over. Repeat every 15 – 20 minutes for even browning. Baste with the butter spice mixture until the cooking time has lapsed.
8. Serve warm with roast vegetables of choice.