The first time I ever had Etouffee was in New Orleans. I, don’t remember the name of the place, it was small, tucked out of the way. It was dark, and a bit smokey (this is when you could smoke in restaurants), and there was great jazz playing. The drinks were flowing, and the food was memorable. The dish of Etouffee arrived hot and steamy. It was full of crawfish and mussels and was served over white rice. I loved the gravy like sauce that lingered at the back of my throat with every bite. It was good. Rib-sticking good. I, have not had a dish of Etouffee, that was as memorable until now.
Etouffee is a French word that means smothered. In the south smothered means, to simmer in a small amount of liquid, to create a thick gravy. Traditionally Etouffee is made with either seafood or chicken and is served over rice. I like to make Etouffee with chicken thighs as they have the most flavor. Feel free to use whatever cuts of chicken you prefer.
I, brown the thighs until golden, and then let them simmer in a roux made with stock, butter, onions, peppers and spicy andouille. The secret seasoning that is key to the success of this recipe is Zatarain’s Creole seasoning. I have tried making my own “special” seasoning; but, it never comes out close to that first Etouffee experience. I let the dish simmer over very low heat for awhile; I feel this is key as it gives the flavors a chance to mingle. This is a filling dish, and you really don’t need much more than a big bowl of rice and some icy cold beverages to make it a complete meal.
Happy Fat Tuesday!
Recipe: Chicken Etouffee