There's a saying in New Orleans, "Laissez les bon temps rouler," which translates to "Let the good times roll." But Bon Temps means something else too - it's home to Sookie Stackhouse and several vampires, werewolves, shifters, and who knows what else on my favorite show, True Blood, which had its season finale last night. Of course in honor of the finale, I needed to create a Cajun dish that even Sam Merlotte would be proud to serve in his restaurant. What could be better than an étouffée? Move over Lafayette, there's a new chef in town.
There are many kinds of étouffée, but typically it involves chicken or seafood, or a combination of the two, over rice. The base of the sauce is a roux, made by cooking flour in oil. I researched many different recipes and this version with Chicken & Andouille sausage seems to be very popular, so I thought it sounded like a good challenge to veganize, and that's how I came up with my version. This turned out so good that it just might make you want to bite someone (and that's a good thing).
Vegan Chicken & Spicy Sausage Étouffée
makes 4 servings
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 links Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausages, or other spicy vegan sausage, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. paprika
pinch of cayenne
2 cups vegetable broth
8 oz. vegan chicken (I used Morningstar Farms Chik'n Strips)
steamed rice and hot sauce, for serving
1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Whisk in the flour and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
2. Add onion, pepper, celery, and garlic to roux. Season vegetables with salt & pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sausage, tomato paste, paprika and cayenne, and cook for 2 minutes. Add broth and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in chicken and simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
3. Season with salt & pepper and serve over rice, with hot sauce and a bottle of Tru Blood, if you're into that kind of thing.
And finally I just had to share with you the most amazing cupcakes I have ever seen. I didn't get them, but I would have if I had known about them ahead of time. They've got edible True Blood images on them, and they're VEGAN!!! Sweet Avenue Bake Shop, you are a genius.