Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken and Andouille Étouffée

Today is officially Fat Tuesday, the last big party before Lent.  I felt that it was appropriate to post a recipe that is appropriate for the occasion.  There are a lot of jambalaya and gumbo recipes out there; however, I was looking to do something a little different for this particular occasion.  I tried to think of the various Cajun and Creole dishes that I have had in the past, and, then I became inspired to prepare an Étouffée.

There is quite the variety of Étouffée recipes on the Internet.  Some recipes call for the use of a blond roux, while others call for the use of a darker brown roux.  (The difference is simply the amount of time you spend whisking the flour and oil to achieve the desired shade of blond or brown.)  Some recipes incorporate the use of tomatoes, while others do not.  And, when it comes to the protein, there are a wide range of choices: crawfish, shrimp, seafood (crawfish, shrimp, plus scallops or fish), chicken and andouille sausage.  After having reviewed the various recipes, I decided to make the recipe for Chicken and Andouille Sausage on Saveur.com. 

I basically followed the recipe with two exceptions.  I bought some fresh andouille sausage, rather than the pre-cooked version called for in the recipe.  If I followed the recipe and cut the raw sausage, it would be a complete mess.  So, I decided to fry the sausage whole in a pan until it is basically cooked through.  I then removed the sausage from the pan to a cutting board.  After about a minute, I sliced the sausage according to the recipe and added it to the Étouffée with the chicken.  The other modification I made to the recipe is that I omitted the last cup of chicken stock.  The reason is that I had regular chicken stock and I did not want to add the extra salt to the Étouffée.   I also felt that I would get to the desired thickness sooner, which I did.  Notwithstanding these alterations, I have included the recipe from Saveur below, with some minor changes in the instructions because I have that need to rewrite things (it comes from my day job). 

Recipe adapted from Saveur.com
Serves 8

3/4 cup of canola oil
3/4 cup flour
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups of chicken stock
2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound andouille sausage, halfed lengthwise and cut cross-wise 
     into 1/2 inch thick pieces
6 large scallions, thinly sliced
Cooked white rice, for serving

1.  Prepare the roux.  Heat the oil in a 6-quart dutch oven or pot over medium high heat until it begins to smoke.  Add flour, a little at a time, whisking constantly, until all of the flour has been added.  Reduce the heat, and continue to whisk constantly until the roux achieves the color of milk chocolate, about 12-15 minutes.  

2.  Add the ingredients to the roux.  Add the onions, celery, and peppers.  Cook until soft, stirring constantly, for about five minutes.  Stir in salt, cayenne pepper, black and white peppers, basil and thyme.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.  Add 2 cups of chicken stock, and bring to a boil.  Cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

3.  Cook the chicken.  Meanwhile, heat the butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat.  Add teh chicken and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 4-6 minutes.  Transfer the chicken and butter to the dutch oven or pot.  Pour remaining chicken into the skillet, stir to scrape up any browned bits, and then pour into the dutch oven or pot, along with the andouille, stirring occasionally, until thick and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more.  

4.  Finish the dish.  Remove pan from heat, serve Étouffée with rice and garnish with the scallions.  


When it comes to pairing this recipe, I have only four words ... anything from Abita Brewing.  If those words do not work for you, here are four more ... anything from Dixie Brewing.  'Nuff said. 

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