Chicken Etouffee Recipe
Etouffee or étouffée (pronounced ay-too-FAY) is a French word that literally means “smothered.” The etouffee meaning makes perfect sense because this dish, found in both Cajun and Creole cuisine, takes protein and vegetables and literally smothers them in a thick, rich, flavorful sauce. (1)
If you’re in the Southern U.S., especially Louisiana, you’re likely to find restaurant chefs and home cooks alike making a crawfish etouffee recipe or a shrimp etouffee recipe, depending on the season or their personal preference.
I’m changing things up a bit — as I’m not a fan of shellfish — and using chicken as the protein of choice for this ultra flavorful and healthy chicken etouffee.
What Is Etouffee?
If you’re a lover of Cajun or Creole food, then you may already know the answer to “what is etouffee?” Many experts claim that etouffe first started being made in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana during the late 1920s. (2) For anyone who isn’t familiar, etouffee is a rich, thick stew of protein (usually crawfish or shrimp), vegetables and spices that is often compared to gumbo.
Like gumbo, etouffee is often served over rice, but gumbo is thinner and considered a soup while etouffee is a thicker, main course. (3) Gumbo is also typically made with a darker roux while etouffee recipes usually vary between a blonde roux or a brown roux.
What is roux? It’s a mix of flour and fat (most often grass-fed butter) that can be cooked to different degrees to create several variations of roux including white, blonde, brown and dark brown. No matter the color, roux is a very effective thickener and also makes sauces, like the one in etouffee, richer in flavor. It’s highly common to see roux included in Cajun and Creole recipes with etouffee being one classic example. (4)
Crawfish etouffee and shrimp etouffee are common versions of this dish, but this recipe is using chicken instead to avoid avoid shrimp and as well as crawfish due to general shellfish health concerns. Honestly, I think the best part of etouffee is the sauce so no matter what protein you use, the end result is sure to be delicious.
How to Make Chicken Etouffee
This chicken etouffee recipe isn’t hard or too time consuming, but it’s definitely loaded with plenty of flavor and nutrient-rich ingredients including grass-fed butter, green peppers and onions — plus plenty of antioxidant-rich herbs and spices.
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of this chicken etoufee recipe, you’re going to cook your rice according to package directions and set it aside so it’s ready to go. If you don’t have sprouted rice on hand, then it’s important you sprouted your rice prior to beginning the steps of this recipe.
First, heat the avocado oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Now you can add the chicken, bay leaves, green peppers and onion.
Sauté the mixture until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.
Add in the chicken stock and water and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat and begin to whisk in the flour gradually until there are no lumps. Continue to heat for 5 to 7 minutes, whisking constantly — you’re creating the etouffee key ingredient known as roux!
Add the dried herbs and spices to the roux.
Now, you can add in the contents of your other chicken saucepan, stirring everything together for about 3 minutes.
Plate the chicken etouffee on top of the rice and garnish with parsley.
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 4–6 chicken thighs, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cup chicken stock, divided
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
- ⅓ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 cups sprouted brown rice, cooked
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley for topping
- Cook rice according to package and set aside.
- Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken, bay leaves, green peppers and onions sautéing until chicken reaches 165 F.
- Add in chicken stock, water and allow to simmer for 5–10 minutes.
- In another pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour gradually until there are no lumps.
- Continue to heat for 5–7 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Add spices and stir in chicken and stock from the other pan, stirring everything together for about 3 minutes.
- Plate: rice, mixture and garnish with parsley.