I’ve received several blog requests lately: how do I title my books/manuscripts? What was my AWP experience like? Can you share [such and such] recipe? Since I’m a bit under the weather right now (thank you cold, windy Chicago and rainy, pollen-filled Houston), I’ve been thinking of ways to improve my health and general well-being with diet. As such, I’d like to answer one of those blog requests here (and the rest to come, soon!) and share with you my gluten-free spin on this recipe that I found online.
As you all know by now, I’m a lover of all things NOLA-based and have been trying my hand at Creole/Cajun cooking for the past few years. I have pretty high standards when it comes to this genre of dishes and have sampled/cooked enough to feel that my assessment of this dish as a healthier substitution for more traditional dish would be reasonably accurate. Note: This recipe was originally vegan only and had a surprising amount of sodium, so I did make a few adjustments, which are noted.
Sausage & Mushroom Étouffée
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth*
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and halved
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon low-sodium, gluten-free soy (tamari) sauce*
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
14-16 ounces vegan sausage, sliced thickly
4 green onions (scallions), sliced
* = healthier, gluten-free substitution
Note: It’s important to prep veggies first, as you have to keep a careful watch on the dry roux, so you will have no time to cut the mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms and stir the flour.
Put the flour in a small skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until it is the color of light brown sugar, about 15 minutes. Be very careful–it burns easily if not stirred. If it burns, throw it out and start over again.
When the dry roux reaches the right color, transfer it to the blender, add the broth, and blend it until smooth. Set aside. While you’re stirring the flour, you can begin cooking the vegetables. Heat a large non-stick skillet. Add the onion and cook for about three minutes, adding water by the tablespoon if needed to prevent sticking. Add the celery and bell pepper and continue to cook until the onion is beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and a tablespoon of water and cover tightly. Cook until the mushrooms begin to exude their liquid, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Give the flour mixture another quick whirl in the blender and add it to the vegetables. Add the soy sauce and all the seasonings and cook, stirring often, until sauce has thickened. Reduce heat and add the sliced sausage. Cover and cook on low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the gravy seems too thick, add a little more vegetable broth.
Check the seasonings and add more pepper and salt if needed. Stir in the green onions and serve over rice.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Outcome: This made a really good, very filling and nutritious dish! It was quite easy to make, even with having to constantly stir the flour. I’ve never made a dry roux before (I’ve made plenty of white and brown rouxs), so it was an experience. I also have found that cup-for-cup, the Bob’s red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour is the same as unbleached white flour (which this recipe originally called for). I also think for next time, I’ll use a different brand of sausage (such as Tofurky or Morningstar Farms). The sausage I did use, Smart Sausages (purchased at Whole Foods), was a little bland. However, the sauce, mushrooms, and veggies were fabulous! I could eat this dish without the vegan sausage and it would still be wonderful. If anyone knows of a great vegan sausage that would be perfect for this dish, please let me know!