My boyfriend loves BBQ. I don’t. However, most BBQ joints have a lot of good options for people who aren’t entirely into ribs and burnt ends. Last weekend, we got some takeout from Bison County in Waltham. As he was gnawing on his ribs, I was enjoying a blackened chicken quesadilla and perusing their menu for some Southern inspiration that didn’t include having to cook brisket or black eyed peas. There were some pasta bowl menu items that looked like they’d be right up my alley. Based on the brief description, here’s something I came up with. I was nervous, but it was insanely incredible.
I used chicken AND shrimp because…why not? I also marinated the protein overnight in a jerk marinade from Stonewall Kitchen (Jamaican Jerk Sauce) but you could also use a jerk rub mixed with a little bit of olive oil. We just happened to have this because we’re obsessed with collecting sauces in our house.
Here’s what I came up with….hope you liked it as much as we did!!
Blackened Chicken & Shrimp in Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce
- 3/4lb. frozen uncooked shrimp, defrosted (preferably deveined and with the tails removed)
- 1 lb. chicken tenders, cut in 1/2
- 1 c. jerk marinade (your favorite or homemade)
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil to coat the saute pan
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp. jerk seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2-3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth (amount will depend on how much liquid cooks down in saute pan)
- 1 24 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped into small pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 c. cream (I used heavy, but you could also use half & half)
- 1 bag of steam-in-bag corn, cooked in the microwave according to package directions
- 1/4 c. Italian parsley, chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz. pasta, cooked according to directions on the size of the box
~ The night before you want to cook this meal, prepare your shrimp and chicken. Defrost the shrimp and take off any shells or tails. Prepare the chicken and combine both meats into a bag with the jerk marinade/sauce. Allow to marinate overnight in a large freezer bag.
~ On cooking day, remove chicken and shrimp from marinade bag and separate. Grill the chicken first, allowing to cook 5-7 min. per side until done. Cook the shrimp afterwards, preferably in a grill basket. We cooked the shrimp second because it doesn’t take as long to cook. Allow the shrimp to cook until it’s black. I keep the meats in the oven on a low-temp. This keeps it warm while I prepare the rest of the meal and it doesn’t get dried out.
Look at that pretty char 🙂 🙂
~ Warm olive oil in a saute pan. Add the chopped onion and cook until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Cook for a minute because garlic tends to burn, baby, burn. 🙂
~ Sprinkle in the jerk seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Add the paprika and the chipotle pepper powder. Fold into the onions and garlic, covering the aromatics with a reddish orange blanket.
~ Pour in the chicken broth slowly and allow it to reduce down and create a thick, wet mixture in the pan. Add the roasted red peppers and the tomatoes.
~ Gently pour the cream into the pan and stir. Allow it to come to a slow boil and then reduce the heat. This mixture should simmer together for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it and continue to stir, since you don’t want the cream to be scalded.
~ Cut open the bag of corn and add it to this mixture. Incorporate the corn into the sauce, covering it with creamy goodness. <3 Stir in the parsley now, too, and lower the heat.
~ Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese in and grind some fresh black pepper over the cream sauce.
~ Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Mix the chicken and shrimp into the cream sauce. Keep the heat on low throughout this process.
~ If you’re serving with pasta, stir in the pasta at this point. This would also be incredible over some creamy grits, which I didn’t think of until later in the night once I had licked my entire plate clean. Garnish with some additional Parmesan cheese and be ready to be transported to the South …. and enjoy the non-BBQ person’s semi-BBQ meal 🙂 🙂