happy fat tuesday! i had big plans for a mardi gras feast, including a vegan king cake. but…after a sweets overload at the vegan bake off this weekend, i decided to go a not so fat route & just make one dish. my grangran(my dad’s mom) is acadian(that’s cajun, y’all) so although i grew up in the northeast, i had my fair share of southern cooking at home. my dad made, and still makes, the best red beans & rice that he’s even veganized for me over the years. but that was about all i liked…aside from when he would make beignets or grangran’s fried cornbread & fried okra, of course. i was never a fan of seafood as a kid & it was in just about everything he made, it seemed. i’d pick the okra out of the gumbo but wouldn’t touch the rest. last night after a chat with my mom, i decided to try to make étouffée, which she assured me would be easy. étouffée just means smothered & smothered mushrooms sounded like a great idea to me. i opted for pretty standard mushrooms but you can use any–lobster mushrooms would be fantastic in this! i cut some & sliced the others for texture but you can prepare them however you please. and yes, i am pairing this with quinoa instead of white rice. and, i would never tell my dad or grangran but i hate celery! my holy trinity substitutes garlic for celery, always. i know, but i’m only 1/4 cajun(if that much) & i didn’t grow up in the south…what do you expect?!
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, halved
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons cajun seasoning*
1/4 cup flour, can be gluten free
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
scallions & parsley for garnish, optional
1 cup cooked quinoa
spinach or any greens
- heat olive oil in a large cast iron pan over high heat.
- add mushrooms & 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning and saute until they start to soften.
- remove from pan and set aside.
- add a little more olive oil to the pan & add your holy trinity–onions, peppers & garlic(and/or celery if you must).
- saute until onions are translucent, 5-7 minutes,
- whisk in the flour slowly, making a roux.
- whisk constantly until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes.
- add the remaining tablespoon of cajun seasoning and mix well.
- add the stock very slowly & whisk to make a smooth paste.
- once all the stock has been added, you will have a thick gravy-like sauce.
- add the tomatoes & cooked mushrooms, stir well.
- simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until tomatoes break apart.
- adjust spices as needed. i added cayenne & white pepper.
- serve over a bed of raw or cooked greens & quinoa or your grain of choice.
*cajun seasoning can be purchased or you can make your own to taste mixing cayenne pepper, black pepper, white pepper, paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder, oregano, basil, thyme, salt.