This post is a little off topic, but I thought it might give you a better idea of who the crazy person is behind Hidden Grins.
I grew up on the outskirts of town in Eastern Pennsylvania. By "town" I mean a general area where a handful of people dwell. Not the smallest, but don't blink when driving through it or you'll miss it.
My mom and gram ALWAYS cooked and baked, and almost always improvised. So much so that my mom's steaks would be done when the smoke alarm went off..I really try not to repeat that though..
I have many, MANY interests and of course one of my favorites is cooking. Well, baking mostly, but cooking comes in second. I love trying new recipes, so tonight I gave etouffee a whirl. A southern friend of mine described it once as "a bunch of stuff in a pot"...can't go wrong with that, right?
So I started with some olive oil in a big pot over medium-high heat.
While that was heating up, I chopped 4 stalks of celery, 1 big onion, 1 bell pepper and 4 cloves of garlic.
Next, I added about 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs to the pot and cooked those for about 5 minutes per side, just until they're browned a bit. Don't forget to season those with salt and pepper!
Once those were done, I set them aside on a plate and, with 1/4 cup of chicken drippings or oil (add or take away as needed), add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour. This makes the roux to thicken the etouffee to a stewy goodness. Let the flour cook some until it's golden and a little nutty smelling.
Time for the veggies! Throw the celery, onion, pepper and garlic in there and stir it around. Also, add some cayenne to taste. Let that cook until the veggies are tender.
Then, pour in 4 cups of chicken broth and give that a good whisk. Put the chicken and 1 pound of chopped or sliced smoked sausage in there and let it simmer until the chicken is fully cooked, about 25 minutes.
Once your 25 minutes are up, fish the chicken pieces out and either shred or chop them, whichever you prefer. Return the chicken to the pot, add 2 pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp and 2 tablespoons of dry sherry. The sherry added a ton of flavor and aroma to this, I wouldn't skip it.
Let that cook for about 3 minutes or just until the shrimp turn pink. Season with salt and pepper and you're done!
Now, I was going to make some plain ol' rice to go along with this. I love plain rice, but I saw another recipe for toasted rice, and that sounded WAY better...
Just melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir in 2 cups of rice, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Cook the rice until it's golden brown (not Cajun style like mine was!) Add 2 cups each of chicken broth and water and bring that to a simmer. Then cover it and turn the heat down to low for 15 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, fluff it with a fork and stir in some chopped green onions and fresh parsley.
Done! And was it ever delicious. The original recipe used andouille, but I'm not really a fan of it so I subbed the smoked sausage.
The original rice recipe used converted long-grain rice, which I don't have, so I figured regular white rice would do. Both recipes can be found here -
And the best part of the evening was my wonderful husband doing the dishes. Love that man!