Have you ever had maque choux (pronounced “mock shoe”)? It’s a popular side dish in Southern Louisiana and you will see it on restaurant menus throughout the state and beyond. When our friend Amber from @a_toastedcrumb sent us this recipe for Cajun Veggie Maque Choux, we were so excited to share it with you! Some people describe it as a stew, while others call it a succotash – whatever you call it, it’s packed full of flavor and beautiful colors thanks to greenhouse grown Sweet Bell Peppers.
Do you find yourself pairing family dinners with the same side dishes over and over? Why not #FlavorUP your meal with this incredible Cajun Veggie Maque Choux recipe? Amber shared how to make this flavorful dish quickly and easily. This recipe requires some chopping, so grab your knife and apron – let’s get started!
Preparation Tips for the Perfect Maque Choux
The maque choux is thought to be a combination of a Native American succotash dish with the influences of early French and Spanish settlers to the South. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the base for it is corn. If fresh corn is available, you will get a much more flavorful dish. Working with fresh corn can seem like more work, but don’t let that stop you because this recipe is simple as can be.
There’s an easy way to remove the fresh kernels from the cob and you don’t even need any fancy gadgets! Just grab yourself a large and a small bowl. Flip the small bowl upside down in the center of the large bowl. Cut the tip of the cob off so that you have a nice flat edge to balance it while you’re cutting. Place the flat edge of the cob on top of the small bowl, then slide your knife down the side of the cob. This will help remove the kernels properly without damaging them and it will allow you to gather some of the “corn milk” from the cob that this recipe needs. This “corn milk” (the white liquid that comes out of the cob when you run the knife down it) helps give the dish its creamy texture.
To set yourself up for success with this recipe, Amber recommends that you chop all your veggies before cooking. Having everything prepared ahead of cooking will ensure that you are focused on the task at hand.Once your ingredients are chopped, it’s time to marinate the shrimp! Having the shrimp ready to go will make your life so much easier later. Place the shrimp in a small bowl and pour the marinade ingredients directly on top of them. Give them a slight toss to coat them evenly, then cover the bowl in plastic wrap.
The final step in preparation for cooking your maque choux is to cook the bacon. Cook it in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain the bacon grease from the pan. Alternatively, you can opt to use the bacon grease instead of butter for the maque choux to give it a little bit of a different flavor profile, but if the thought of cooking veggies in bacon grease doesn’t appeal to you, make sure you gently wipe away any of the grease that remains.
How to Cook Maque Choux
Turn the heat on your stove down to medium-low and heat up the cast-iron skillet you used to cook the bacon. If you’re not using the bacon grease, melt your butter in the pan. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are just barely translucent. Then, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it cooks very quickly. Next, stir in the peppers, corn, and Cajun seasoning. You’ll want to cook this mixture until it’s soft and tender.
While you’re getting everything incorporated, dissolve a bouillon cube in half a cup of warm water before pouring the broth into the mixture. Add a bay leaf and let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the broth reduces by half.
While the broth is reducing, you will want to start cooking your shrimp so that everything is ready at the same time. Sear the marinated shrimp over medium-high heat in a saucepan until they are opaque. Take the pan off the stove and set it aside to cool slightly.
At the very end, stir in the crispy bacon bits and slowly pour the heavy cream in. Stir gently and let it simmer until the cream thickens up – about 5 minutes. Remove the maque choux from the heat and place the shrimp on the top, then garnish with chopped green onions and parsley.
Traditional cajun maque choux is one of those comfort food dishes that is popular in the fall and winter months, but it is so delicious that you can serve it year-round. Pure Flavor® Sweet Bell Peppers are grown in high-tech greenhouses, so they’re always in season! Their vibrant colors will add pizzazz to any dish. The combination of red, yellow, and orange makes for a beautiful presentation and a wonderful sense of freshness.
For Amber’s full Cajun Veggie Maque Choux recipe, click here.
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