Sunday, February 10, 2013

Quick and Easy Chicken Etouffee

Because I'm slightly obsessed with The Big Easy, and because Mardi Gras is just around the corner, I made Chicken Etouffee.  Normally Mardi Gras is all about indulgence, but we've recently committed to a new healthy living plan, so I wanted to make something that felt indulgent but was still healthy.  This recipe is one of my new best friends.  It meets all the criteria for a busy cook who wants to celebrate a special day by making something quick, delicious, and healthy that doesn't break the bank. 

You can put this dish together in under 30 minutes. The best news is that it makes a really big pot! Clean up is easy too.  One pan for the rice.  One pan for the etouffee.  The etouffee starts with a little butter in the pan, a quick saute of cubed chicken, a quick saute of the holy trinity (celery, onions, bell pepper), add in some tomato paste, flour, and seasoning, and then it's time for the chicken stock.  Once the stock comes to a low boil it's time to add the chicken back in and then you're ready to serve over rice and celebrate!

Chicken Etouffee
Stirring the Pot Original
Serves 4-6

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped celery 
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, divided 
3-4 cups chicken stock, depending on how thick you want it

Optional/For Garnish: Sliced green onions, hot sauce and/or splash of Worcestershire sauce
For Serving:  Cooked rice (*see recipe below)

Cut chicken into one inch chunks and toss with 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning.  

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, or Dutch oven, over medium high heat.  Add chicken and saute for 3-4 minutes, until the chicken becomes golden.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate or in a bowl (it will finish cooking in the sauce later).

Over medium heat add onions, celery, and red pepper to the heavy bottomed saucepan and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add tomato paste and stir to distribute.  Add flour and 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning and cook for at least two minutes, stirring constantly (you want this mixture to be pretty dark in color).

Now you are ready to add in the chicken stock.  You'll want to add in the chicken stock a little at a time, whisking the entire time to incorporate everything.  I like to do this over medium-low heat.  Once the mixture comes to a simmer/slight boil you will be able to see how thick your gravy is.  This is when you can adjust the thickness of the gravy to your liking.  Three cups of chicken stock makes a really nice thick gravy.  However, if you like your gravy a little on the thin side, then 4 cups of chicken stock will probably work well for you.  

At this time you can add the chicken, and all of the accumulated juices, back into the pan and cook over medium low heat.  You'll only want to cook the chicken for a short time, just so that it's cooked through (most likely about 5 minutes)!! Once the chicken is cooked through, taste the dish and check for seasoning.  You might need a little more Cajun seasoning.  Hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce can also be great additions.  Once you've got the seasoning just right go ahead and serve over rice (I've included a recipe below) and garnish with sliced green onions.  Enjoy!

Plain Rice
Adapted from Quick & Easy Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Serves 4-6

2 cups long grain white rice
1 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 cups water

Put the rice in a bowl and wash well in several changes of water.  Drain thoroughly.  In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the rice, salt, water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover tightly, turn the heat to very, very low, and cook for 25 minutes.  Take off heat and let rest for 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.
One cup of chicken etouffee is 221 calories, per my calculations.  One cup of chicken etouffee served over one cup of plain white rice is about 463, per my calculations.
Theme: Potluck


  1. I'm all about good old comfort food gone healthier! This sounds delicious!

  2. That looks wonderful, Kim. And I love that it's healthy eating. I always forget Mardi Gras time!

  3. good for you! i've started and restarted a healthy eating plans about five times since the year started. i really need to get my act together. i'll start with this ettoufee! it looks so warm and rich, excellent recipe!

  4. If I hadn't made shrimp creole last night, I would be making this tonight! The creole is (to me) a healthy light dish too.I am bookmarking this one. Thanks.

  5. I love you! Love that you worked Mardi Gras into cooking with Madhur Jaffrey! This etouffee look delicious--I wish I had a pot right now on what is a cold, rainy day.

  6. This is soul in a bowl...Love this étouffée.

    I guess all of us are still trying to recuperate from the holidays. I am trying to incorporate more clean eating into my diet.


  7. I should have made this last night instead of the arroz con pollo that I made.

  8. I must admit I've never had etouffee, but everything in it sounds like stuff I love. I have to give your healthier version a try.

  9. A perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras.

  10. This was amazing !! Thanks for a delicious dinner, that the whole family loved.


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