Hot and Sweet Chicken
- Chef Prudhomme promotes food safety to Little Rock crowd
Tuesday, October 23, 2001 / The Log Cabin Democrat
"Be cool. Chill Out," advised Chef Paul Prudhomme of New Orleans
recently as he greeted a group gathered in Little Rock to take part
in a program promoting food safety.
The Arkansas Hospitality Association has partnered with the National
Restaurant Association Education Foundation to promote food safety
education awareness to members of the food service and restaurant
industry. Prudhomme, owner of K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in New
Orleans, is the national spokesperson for that cause.
The theme for the awareness campaign is "Be Cool, Chill Out --
Refrigerate Promptly." Prudhomme gathered with representatives of the
food industry on Sept. 27 at Quality Foods Demonstration Kitchen to
speak on the subject as well as to prepare one of his recipes. He and
his assistants prepared "Hot and Sweet Chicken" and then invited the
audience of approximately 200 to sample it.
"Be cool. Chill out," Prudhomme reiterated. "Don't let the food hang
out in the kitchen too long."
Hot and Sweet Chicken served over rice. Carol Rolf Photo
Clad in his familiar white outfit, Prudhomme recalled how he got into
the food industry. "I enjoy cooking," he said. "And I like to talk
about it." He said his family settled in Louisiana in 1760 and were
"I was the first one to open a restaurant in my family, and it didn't
last long," he said. "I got married about the same time, and nine
months later, she was gone and the restaurant was gone."
Prudhomme said he tried again. In fact, his first four restaurants
were failures. After several years of travel and experiences, he
opened K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in July 1979. He not only operates
the restaurant, Prudhomme has expanded into the catering business and
has developed his own line of seasonings, Chef Paul Prudhomme Magic
Prudhomme said the food industry has changed dramatically during the
past 30 years. As the youngest of 13 children, he grew up in his
mother's kitchen, learning the importance of using fresh ingredients.
"I had to go out into the yard and catch the chicken for dinner," he
said with a laugh.
"Back then, we didn't think anything about leaving food out on the
table all day, but today we know that is not the safe thing to do,"
he explained. "As members of the food industry, we have an important
responsibility to have safe food. We need to have a quality control
system installed in all of our restaurants. From the small grocery
store to the largest restaurant, we have a responsibility to make
sure the food we serve is healthy. That also extends into the home.
"That's why we say, 'Be cool. Keep that food refrigerated. And use
safe handling measures,'" he continued.
The chef said the first and simplest thing someone in the food
industry, and the cook at home, should do is, "Wash your hands,"
before handling food. "And don't come to work sick."
He also mentioned a nationwide program in the food industry called
"ServSafe," which teaches employees the importance of food safety. "I
have everyone in my business take it," he noted.
"I believe in food safety and that's why I accepted this position,"
he explained. "To be their 'mouth.'
"Think I'll do a good job?" he asked the audience with a smile.
Chef Paul Prudhomme of New Orleans prepared one of his favorite
recipes for a crowd recently in Little Rock.
He shares the recipe with today's Log Cabin readers.
Hot and Sweet Chicken
2 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound chicken thigh meat, cut into 2-inch by 1/4-inch julienne strips
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups defatted chicken stock
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger
1 small onion, peeled and cut into julienne strips
3/4 cup carrots, scrubbed and sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
3/4 cup julienne red peppers
3/4 cup julienne yellow bell peppers
3/4 cup julienne green bell peppers
2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh garlic
1/4 cup tamarai (see note)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
6 1-gram packets artificial sweetener, optional
4 cups cooked long grain white rice
Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle all
surfaces of the chicken evenly with 2 teaspoons of the mix and rub it
Dissolve the cornstarch in 4 tablespoons of the stock and set aside.
Preheat a heavy 12-inch skillet, preferably nonstick, over high heat
to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, about five minutes.
Add the chicken, stir, and cook until it starts to brown, about two
minutes. Add the fresh ginger and onions, stir and cook for two
minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and seasoning mix, stir and
cook for three minutes. Stir in the tamari and vinegar, stirring
occasionally, until much of the liquid evaporates and the sauce
becomes thick and syrupy. Stir in the tomato sauce and remaining
stock, bring to a boil, and cook for two minutes. Add the cornstarch
mixture, cook for two minutes, remove from heat, and if desired, add
the artificial sweetener. Serve over the rice.
NOTE: Tamari is a very flavorful kind of soy sauce, available in
specialty markets and the international or ethnic food sections of
many supermarkets. If it is unavailable, use the best soy sauce you
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