Chicken Étouffée (Etouffee)

Sometimes you may want seafood Étouffée, but find that you only have chicken on hand…well, I guess we gonna use chicken. I am dedicating this recipe to my Nannie, now gone from this earth. As the daughter of a trapper/trader she learned to cook early…sometimes it was only with the “crawdads” she caught with dough balls and a safety pin.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound chicken breast
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bell pepper red or green, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic (smoked is best)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups white rice (plus 2 cups water to cook)
  • salt, pepper & cayenne to taste
  • water to cover

Directions

Step 1

Finely chop onion, bell pepper & celery and set aside.

Step 2

Mix pepper, salt and cayenne with the flour in a dish for dredging.

Step 3

Cut chicken breast into finger sized strips and coat them with the flour.

Step 4

In a large pot (Dutch oven), add some of the butter and olive oil. Hold on to the rest of the butter and oil because you will need to add them in as you cook.

Step 5

Start frying coated chicken strips in the oil & butter, removing them as they brown and adding more oil and butter as needed. I hit them with some more cayenne as they come out of the pot.

Step 6

After all chicken strips are fried and set aside, add any remaining butter and some of the left over seasoned flour to make a roux. Just add enough to make it thick, but not like a paste...cook to a dark roux.

Step 7

Add garlic and bay leaves and the chopped vegetables. Stir so that all veggies are coated with the roux and start to soften. Fill with water to cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to check for seasoning, salt and cayenne.

Step 8

This is a good time to make the rice. When it starts to look like a gravy add the chicken back in for the last 10 minutes. Again, check the seasoning.

Step 9

Once it reaches the thickness you like, serve it on a pile of rice. Garlic bread cut into strips makes a great side and garnish.

Daniel adds: "Even though I was somewhere between a true Étouffée and a Jambalaya because of the ingredients I had on hand, it still tastes incredible. If I had some sausage to add with the chicken I'd have gone with more water and cooked the rice as it reduced for a Jambalaya...if I had some tomatoes I would have skipped the roux and gone for a more traditional Étouffée. Frying the chicken coated with the seasoned flour leaves all these little dark bits in the pot which makes for a tasty roux...and the smoked garlic I ALWAYS keep on hand sure helps! It's funny when you have cook with what you got and you end up liking it so much you'd make it again and again."


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