Étouffée, as we just discovered, is a really rich, thick Louisiana stew mostly featuring shellfish, as most of the online recipes would suggest, although we are told you can use other meats such as chicken, too. The name of the dish comes from a french word ‘étouffer’, meaning to ‘smother’ and which probably comes from the popular Louisiana method of cooking, ‘smothering’. Strike at once images of hand over chicken’s beak as the poor bird is suffocated to death, rather, it is a method similar to braising in which food is cooked down in a pot in its own juices. You can read more about ‘smothering’ on Wikipedia here.
We learned of this stew when watching the cooking channel and immediately wanted to have it. Of course, we didn’t know where to get it in Singapore, and cooking it according to the actual recipe would have taken too long, what with browning the sausages, then chicken, then stirring the roux to peanut butter-like colour and consistency, then cooking the stew, and flaking the chicken meat… No.
So, without time, chicken, shellfish or sausages, but with only pork, peanut butter and vegemite, Darsh came up with her own cheat, but oh so yummy, version. Without the roux to thicken and flavour the stew, the peanut butter added that creaminess and nuttiness, while the vegemite balanced out the natural sweetness of the peanuts. A winner!
- 500g pork loin, cubed
- 2 green chillies
- 1 large or 2 medium red onions
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 tsp vegemite, heaping
- 2 tbs unsweetened peanut butter
- 1 tsp cajun spice
- 1/2 tsp cayenne (more if u like it spicier)
- 1/2 cup water
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Handful spring onions and coriander, chopped
- Blend onions, green chillies, bell pepper and celery.
- In a pan, heat oil on high. Brown the pork, and remove. You do not cook the meat through.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add in the chili-onion-celery mixture. Allow to cook for up to five minutes. Adjust heat so as not to burn the mixture.
- Now add the gooey, yummy peanut butter, vegemite and water and stir until all have melted and mixed in.
- Season with salt, pepper, cajun and cayenne powder before re-introducing the pork to the party. You can add more water if the stew appears too thick before putting the lid on and leaving it until the pork is cooked through.
- Ladle stew over hot bread or rice, or even bulgur wheat as we did. Top with a generous amount of chopped herbs.
This stew is even yummier the next day, as the pork would have more time to absorb more of the flavour of the stew, and if anything, becomes more tender.