Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken Etouffee and Bumbleee Stew

Happy Mardi Gras!  What better way than to celebrate with some delicious cajun food.  The chicken etouffee recipe is from Emeril Lagasse, and it has lots of spice and awesome flavors.  The bumblebee stew is on the sweeter side and together, they balance perfectly.

While the etouffe looks like it has a lot of ingredients, it's really not hard.  If you can make a roux, you can make this!  Basically, throw everything in, and let it just get more delicious the longer it simmers.

Serves 6, easily

1 4 lb chicken cut into 8 pieces
Cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
1 cup finely diced onion
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bottle dark lager or amber beer
1 quart cold chicken stock
1 can minced tomatoes
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Season the chicken pieces with salt and cayenne pepper.  Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat and sear chicken on both sides until it is golden brown.  Remove to a platter and reserve.

Add butter to pan and when melted, add flour and stir to combine well.  Continue to cook roux, stirring constantly, until chocolate brown, about 12-15 minutes.  (It is helpful to use a whisk until the roux is complete and until the liquids have been thoroughly mixed in.)

Immediately add onion and bay leaves and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes, then add the beer and stir well to loosen any browned bits from the bottom.  Add the stock, brown sugar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, return chicken pieces to the pot and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the chicken is very tender.  

Remove chicken pieces to a platter and when cool enough to handle, remove the chicken meat from the bones.  Return the chicken meat to etouffee and continue to cook another 30 minutes until sauce is thickened and flavorful and chicken is beginning to fall apart.  Add chopped parsley and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve immediately over rice.

Bumblebee Stew
Serves 6, easily


1 large yellow onion, diced
1 stick butter
1/2 - 1 package frozen corn, I like Trader Joe's roasted sweet corn
2 cans black beans
1-2 can diced tomatoes


Saute the diced onion in the butter.  Add remaining ingredients.  Heat until it simmers; you are done. Serve alongside the chicken etouffee on top of the rice.  Garlic bread is also a nice addition!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Banana Bread with Nutty Streusel

Oh, I love a good streusel; don't you? Today's recipe is from my Miette cookbook.  If you aren't familiar with Miette, you should be.  It is a most fantastic bakery in San Francisco, and her recipes are wonderful.  Her cake creations are beautiful, and pastries are delightful.  Here are some pictures:

Now on to the really good stuff.  The best part of the bread is the streusel on top.  Because that part is so tasty, I double it, and I also substitute walnuts in place of pecans, but you can do what you like!  The bread is moist and chocked full of walnuts, so it has a great texture.  Here's how you can make your own.

Banana Bread with Nutty Streusel
Adapted From Miette
Makes 2 loaves


(amounts listed are doubled from original)
1 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
4 tablespoons cold butter
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 medium soft, but not black, bananas, peeled and roughly mashed
1/2 cup walnut pieces


Liberally butter two 8x4 inch loaf pans and dust with flour.  Tap out excess.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the streusel, add all ingredients.  Blend together with your hand or pastry blender until all ingredients are combined.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to use.  Can be made up to five days in advance.
To make the banana bread, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined and lightened in color, 4-5 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in the oil, whisking just until combined.  Add the banana mash and whisk.  Add the dry ingredients and walnuts to the batter in three additions, whisking until combined.  Do not overmix.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans.  Sprinkle the tops with the streusel, dividing it evenly.  Bake until the breads have risen nicely and the tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. about 45-50 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for 20 minutes.  Run an offset spatula around the edges of the pan, then invert the cakes onto the racks and let cool 20 minutes longer.  Serve right away or refrigerate until you are ready to serve.  To freeze, wrap tightly in a second layer of plastic and store in the freezer for up to two months.