Chef Lyle Broussard • By Karla Wall
Lyle Broussard, room chef at L’Auberge’s Jack Daniel’s Bar and Grill, grew up around food and cooking, as almost all chefs do.
His great-grandmother owned a local neighborhood restaurant, he explains, and it’s there he learned to cook, along with his siblings, who also worked in the restaurant. It’s also where he developed his love of food and the restaurant business.
Broussard trained in the culinary program at Sowela for a while, and later became a certified chef de cuisine through the Culinary Institute of America.
He began his career at Jack Daniel’s as a sous chef in 2005, and was promoted to room chef in 2008.
His career has included many honors, including being named as one of the Chefs to Watch in Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine. He was also on the cover of Acadiana Profile Magazine, named one of the magazine’s Best Chefs of 2015. He’s done several TV appearances, including Flip My Food and the History Channel’s All You Can Eat, and he cooked for Al Roker and the Today Show cast during their visit to SWLA a few years ago.
But, like a lot of successful chefs, Broussard likes to keep it simple and true to his roots when he cooks at home.
And one of his favorite things to do is cook up a big cast-iron pot of his delicious version of chicken and andouille sauce piquante on the patio for a big group of friends and family on a cold day.
“It’s a great dish for a get-together,” he says. “I cooked up a big pot of it on Mardi Gras in the outdoor kitchen. You can’t go wrong sitting around with friends and family on the patio on a cold day cooking and eating this dish.”
Broussard begins by heating a bit of oil in a cast iron Dutch oven (a smaller one, of course, than he uses in his outdoor kitchen). He prefers cast iron, he says, because it heats evenly.
“I don’t use stainless steel,” he says.
He browns andouille and tasso, removes it from the pot, then browns seasoned chicken thighs skin side down, so they don’t dry out as quickly. If you want to use chicken breasts, he recommends adding them later in the cooking process, right before adding stock.
Once the chicken is browned, Broussard takes it out, lowers the heat, and makes the roux, adding flour a bit at a time and stirring it in over low heat. He also adds a bit of oil at this point. How thick you want your sauce piquant, he says, dictates how much flour you will add.
“You can use canned broth; that’s what I use at home,” he says.
Once the roux is made, Broussard adds the tomato paste, onion, bellpepper and celery, as well as a bit of stock, mixing the tomato paste well into the roux and vegetables, and cooking it all for a bit to eliminate the raw tomato taste from the paste.
“The tomato should stick to the bottom of the pot a bit,” he says.
Broussard then adds the andouille and tasso back to the pot. More stock is added, a bit at a time. The whole dish is cooked “low and slow,” says Broussard, for about 45 minutes, and finished with chopped chives to add brightness and freshness.
Even though the dish hadn’t cooked the preferred length of time when I tasted it, the broth was amazing … the meatiness from the chicken and stock blended perfectly with the spiciness of the andouille and the smokiness of the tasso. I loved the initial spicy kick to the dish.
This is simple Cajun food that’s perfect for two or a crowd, and can be made using almost any meat … alligator, shrimp, fish. Just be sure to pay attention to the amount of time for which you cook your meat — alligator, for example, takes a lot less cooking time than chicken, so you want to add it later in the dish.
The dish is mainly served over rice, but Broussard says he’s served an alligator sauce piquant with grits, and it was a hit.
Like most good Cajun and Creole dishes, this is comfort in a bowl.
Chicken And Andouille Sauce Piquante
1 pound andouille sausage, chopped
1.5 pounds chicken thigh meat, chopped into medium chunks
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 pound tasso, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup green onion, chopped
3 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups flour
Salt and black pepper, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper
In a cast iron Dutch oven, heat 1/2 cup of the oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, cayenne and red pepper flakes. Brown tasso and andouille sausage and set aside.
Add chicken to pot and sear until golden brown; set aside. Add remaining oil and flour over medium heat and stir constantly until a dark roux starts to form.
Once dark roux has formed, stir in tomato paste, onions, celery, garlic and bell peppers. Stir over low heat for 10 minutes until the sauce starts to turn brown.
Once sauce is brown stir in the chicken, tasso and andouille sausage. Stir for an additional 10-15 minutes, until sauce has completely coated all of the meat evenly.
Stir in the chicken broth a little at a time, stirring constantly. Once all of the chicken broth is incorporated bring mixture to a slow simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Taste and season.
Add chopped green onions; serve over white rice.