Chicken & Sausage Etouffeé

Happy Mardi Gras! Hope you had a wonderful Superbowl weekend with quite an exciting game and half time show to watch. We immediately went into Chinese New Year mode yesterday, so a belated "Gung hay fat choy!" to you as well! And today we switch gears to celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. I especially enjoy Mardi Gras because it's the perfect time to make some New Orleans inspired food, as the Cajun and Creole flavors certainly are highlighted. I've made a few Cajun and Creole dishes in the past and this year, I've added yet another classic dish to the list - Chicken & Sausage Etouffeé. Chicken and Andouille sausage take the stage as it simmers in a thickened and seasoned roux with the classic 'trinity', served over fluffy rice...

So a common question is - What's the difference between etouffeé, gumbo and jambalaya?

It's easy to confuse the dishes since they involve similar ingredients. However, the main difference is the roux and thickness of the sauce.

Etouffeé - is commonly made with chicken, sausage and/or shrimp (or a combination of these three) where the sauce is thick, much like a stew. It's often served over rice.

Gumbo - is commonly made with chicken, sausage and/or shrimp (or a combination of these three) where the sauce is thin, much like a soup. It's often served with rice on top or on the side to stir into the gumbo.

Jambalaya - is commonly made with chicken, sausage and/or shrimp (or a combination of these three) where there is no sauce, but rather rice is cooked along with the mixture. It's more similar to a Spanish Paella.

So there you have it - an explanation of how these popular New Orleans dishes are different! Now let's get cooking and eating to celebrate this grand day...

Chicken & Sausage Etouffeé
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped celery
garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound chicken breast, cut in bite sized pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound cooked Andouille sausage, cut in bite sized pieces
2 2/3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice

In a Dutch oven set over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and sauté onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic and chicken until softened and tender; transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

In the now empty Dutch oven set over medium heat, melt remaining butter and whisk in flour, stirring to pick up any bits and pieces. Continue cooking and stirring until flour mixture (roux) turns a deep rust brown color. 

Whisk in Cajun seasoning, thyme, and chicken broth; cook for 1 minute. Return add onion an chicken mixture and Worcestershire to the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until thick.

Add green onions, salt, and sausage; cook for 10-12 minutes or until sausage is warmed through, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot cooked rice. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

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