Blackened Chicken Mozzarella Po-Boy from Chef Kenneth Temple
As a New Orleans native, Chef Kenneth Temple grew up immersed in Southern and Creole cooking along with Louisiana traditions like Mardi Gras. This po-boy recipe from the 2017 “Chopped” champion combines the two in an easy-to-make but elevated version of the sandwiches his mother served during parade season. In his own words: “The flavors of this sandwich will bring a tear to your eye and a second line to your palate.” Once you’ve added this classic New Orleans dish to your arsenal, you’ll have guests shouting, “Throw me somethin’, mister!” every time you take out the cast iron.
SERVES 4 people PREP 10 mins COOK 12 mins READY IN 25 mins
For the Blackening Seasoning:
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 3/4 tsp white pepper
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dry thyme
- 1/2 tsp dry oregano
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 16 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 10 oz French bread, halved
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
- 12 dill pickles, sliced
- 2 roma tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- Cast iron skillet (preferred but not necessary)
- Fish, pork, turkey, or steak instead of chicken
- Hoagie or sub bread instead of French bread
For the Po-Boy:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a bowl, add and whisk the paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, and oregano to form the blackening seasoning. Temporarily set aside.
- Preheat a skillet (preferably cast iron) to medium-high heat on your grill or stovetop. Line a baking sheet with foil, then set it aside.
- Dip chicken breasts in the melted butter, evenly coating both sides. Transfer them to a plate and liberally season both sides with the blackening seasoning.
- Place 2 chicken breasts in your preheated skillet and cook for 3 minutes, until blackened, then flip over and cook for another 3 minutes. Once cooked, move the chicken breasts to the foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat this step until all chicken breasts are cooked.
- Place your chicken breasts in the preheated oven and allow them to cook for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and place 2 slices of mozzarella over each breast. Return your chicken to the oven and bake for 3–5 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
- Start preparing the po-boys by spreading ¼ cup of mayonnaise evenly on each half of the bread. Dress the top half with lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes. Lay down the chicken on the bottom half, then close the sandwich and cut into desired pieces. Now, enjoy!
Storing and Reheating Blackened Chicken Po-Boys
If making ahead, the blackened chicken can be stored in the fridge for 1 day. For long-term storage, the blackened chicken must be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. The blackening seasoning, meanwhile, can be stored in an airtight container for 6 months.
Reheating this dish is as simple as baking the blackened chicken at 350 degrees for about 5–8 minutes, then baking the bread for 2–3 minutes. The two must be reheated separately — because the chicken takes longer to reheat, the bread will have hardened by the time both would be ready if warmed together.