Growing up in North Louisiana, I have many memories that revolve around food. Actually, it is some of these culinary memories that prompted the name of this blog–Food. Fun. Family. Early in my life, I developed a passion for good food and lingering around the dinner table with family and friends, where we simultaneously shared a home cooked meal and the adventures of our day.
Some of my sweetest memories of food, fun and family happened when I was in college at Louisiana Tech University. While at Tech, I was “adopted” by The Moore’s, a family from the church I attended, First Baptist Church of Ruston. Many memories were made after church over Sunday lunches or during our weekly “Adopted Family Dinner” on Thursdays nights. After which, we’d all pile in front of the television to watch Must See TV on NBC. Remember Seinfeld, Friends, Frazier and ER? Sweet memories!
Crawfish Étouffée. Now, there’s a memory. What is étouffée? Well, basically, it comes from the French word for “smother, stew or braise”. Often, it contains bone-in chicken thighs or shellfish. Now, don’t get étouffée confused with gumbo. Both are Cajun dishes that begin with a roux, a mixture of flour and fat that is slowly cooked until it become the perfect shade of brown. However, Gumbo is soup-like and Étouffée is more stew or gravy-like. Although both dishes can be served over rice, I have had étouffée served over angel hair pasta. Yum!
Even though it’s been over twenty years, since I first attended Louisiana Tech (GO DAWGS!), I can still remember the very first time I tasted Mrs. Janet’s Étouffée. Just as if it was yesterday. Delicious doesn’t begin to describe how amazing it tasted. Oh. My. Goodness.
Thankfully, The Moore’s still claim me as one of their own. 🙂 Whenever, I have the opportunity to visit them (they now live in Florida), I make sure to request Mrs. Janet’s Étouffée. Or Mr. Mark, her husband’s, Duck Gumbo or Chicken and Dumplings!
Over the years, I have made the recipe my own, keeping the base of the original. She’d always use crawfish. They are hard to come by where I live, so I use chicken or shrimp. It’s always yummy! I hope you try it and that it becomes a family favorite.
Easy Chicken (or Shrimp or Crawfish) Étouffée
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper (or other color of bell pepper)
1/2 cup of diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup**
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup**
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup**
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (i.e. Ro-Tel)
1/2 cup of water or broth (perhaps a bit more to thin it ever so slightly)
1 t of Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 t of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 pound crawfish meat -or-
1/2 pound cubed chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs -or-
1/2 pound raw shrimp – peeled, tails removed
green onions, chopped (optional)
**If you prefer, you can make homemade cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup and cream of celery soup. Also, here is a link for a large batch of cream soup base. Sometimes, I do this; however, if I am in a hurry, I just use the canned variety.
Saute onion, celery, and green pepper in butter or olive oil until just beginning to caramelize. Add garlic (but don’t burn 🙂 ) Stir in spices, soups, water or broth, and meat of your choice. Bring to simmer and continue cooking until meat is cooked through (chicken takes longer than the shrimp or crawfish). Pour étouffée over rice. Sprinkle with chopped green onions.