Étoufée is not the most attractive plate ever. This dish will never win a beauty pageant. But as all dishes prepared with roux and love, the outcome is wonderful. Honestly, étoufée is most unsightly when preparing but after it has time to settle in and gain some confidence, it begins to have body and a lovely aroma commences to seep out of the pot. I frequently find myself with my face over the vessel inhaling for at least half an hour. There is something paranormal that happens as this liquid, vegetable mixture thickens and bubbles and brews. I don’t mind the dirty looks from the frequent spectators. It’s my prerogative. This dish is humbly served over rice, and if you close your eyes as you eat it, it turns into the most beautiful entity ever. No contest required, this dish wins the crown.
* This recipe is more “blonde” than most étoufées and I use chicken instead of the most traditional seafood étouffée.
Recipe: Serves 8-10: Adapted from Commander’s Kitchen
1 Chicken, broken down, wings and backbone reserved for a stock
1 cup of flour
1 cup of vegetable oil
4 onions, chopped
4 bell peppers, 2 red and 2 green, chopped
30 (yes, 30) garlic cloves, sliced
4 jalapenos, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp. of red pepper flakes
6 cups of water
Salt, black pepper and red pepper
In a large, heavy pot heat oil on medium-high to high heat until smoking. Season chicken with seasoning and dust with a portion of the flour. Brown in the pot for about 10 minutes. Work in batches. Take chicken out of the pot and add the vegetables to the pot. Mix the vegetables into the hot oil and season. Add red pepper flakes. Put a lid on the pot and let cook for 12 minutes. Stir the vegetables, add the rest of the flour and continue stirring until combined. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has cooked out of the pot. This could take 10-20 minutes. Add the water and season again. Add the chicken to the pot. Bring the étoufée to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes. The sauce should be thick and flavorful. Debone the chicken and return to the pot. Make sure to season the pot again before serving. Serve over rice.