Wednesday, January 4, 2012

chili cheese étouffée

Yats is this Cajun restaurant around Indianapolis. Gosh, I love it. Good memories at Yats: Court and Ashley during May term, dinner before Coldplay, old staffs and hanging out in Broad Ripple, rewarding myself after twelve hour clinicals.

Last night, we asked our neighbors/friends over dinner, and I really wanted to make them something special, something new, something comfort. I found the recipe for my favorite Yats dish: chili cheese étouffée with crawfish.

First, I really don't know how to pronounce étouffée or any other French/Creole words. Clearly, I needed to research this recipe. Then questions started, worse than the pronunciation, not really. How do I cook the chicken and crawfish? Is it better marinated? What the heck is a roux? What color of roux do I need? Don't worry that it looks like a lot of ingredients - it's mostly spices. Hopefully, my additions are helpful:

Chili Cheese Etouffée with Crawfish, Shrimp and/or Chicken
1 stick of butter
½ cup flour
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell peppers
1 cup diced onions
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup Rotel Original diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups shredded aged cheddar
8 ounces half and half (or heavy cream)
1 teaspoon chili powder
pinch ground coriander
pinch ground cumin
pinch ground cloves
dash worcestershire sauce
dash hot sauce sauce (optional)
1 pound cooked crawfish, shrimp and/or chicken
Cooked white rice

Honestly, I looked up how to make fajita style chicken and substituted cajun spices. Cut chicken into small strips. Marinate the chicken with a couple spoons of Cajun seasoning. We didn't have any so I made my seasoning from scratch using this recipe. Cook in skillet with oil. Set aside. (If you want a quick Cajun fix and don't have time to make this recipe, you can just do the chicken with the Cajun seasoning and serve it over rice. Boom.)

Make a roux by heating the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat then blending in the flour, consistently stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet. Do not walk away. It takes about 10-15 minutes on a gas stove. Cook until the roux is golden color. For different roux colors, look here. We did the color after the "blonde" roux.

Add the green onions, celery, bell peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes. Cook until the onions have browned. At this point, Logan thought it looked really weird. Continue to stir to avoid burning.

Add the thyme, tomato paste, basil and peppers (black, white, and cayenne).

Add the stock, bring to a boil and simmer until the mixture becomes thick (7-12 minutes).

Add the cheese, half and half, chili powder, coriander, cumin, cloves, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce (or wait and let others add in hot sauce). Stir until the cheese and half and half are blended in well.

Gently stir in the chicken (or shrimp or crawfish). Serve over white rice (we used Jasmine -- it's what we had).

Buy a loaf of french bread, spread melted butter, season with garlic salt and cayenne pepper. Bake for 5-10 minutes on 425 F. This bread is your other fork, pushing it around the plate, scooping it up. Chili cheese étouffée rice crunchy bread, everybody loves it.

Serves 6-8 

Tips: I cut and prepped everything before so that it was easy to add as I cooked. Separated the different spices into small bowls. It helps because you are stirring a lot to prevent it burning. No time to prep other things unless you find someone to stir for you. Oh hey Logan, thanks.
(source: The Burb Blog & Indianapolis Dine Magazine)

Do I love this recipe? Yes. Will I keep making it despite the stick of butter, three cups of cheddar cheese, and cup of half and half? Absolutely. Do I love people more than food? Yes. Am I glad food is a good way to spend time with people we love? Oh reader, please.

1 comment:

  1. So thankful for this. We used to have Yats in West Lafayette and I miss it so - especially the chili cheese etoufee! Thanks so much for posting this. I can't wait to try it!