Friday, August 5, 2011

Tempeh & Okra Étouffée

Étouffée is hands down my favorite Cajun dish. This creamy, delicious dish's name literally means "smothered", and it shows with the onslaught of tastiness that ensues. Typically, this is a shellfish kind of dish with the shrimp and crawfish varieties being the most common. Today I substituted in tempeh, which is the most seafood like of the vegetarian meats, and added in my favorite southern vegetable staple: okra.

Tempeh & Okra Étouffée
Adapted from Paula Dean's Recipe
Servings: 6-8
Time: 60 minutes

Veggies in roux: one of the greatest smells ever
8 oz tempeh
1 lb okra
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning
1/2 cup scallions, minced
1/4 cup parsley leaves, minced
3/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup veggie broth
1 can diced tomato and juices
2-3 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp butter
Tabasco to taste

Progression of the roux

  1. Cut the tempeh into cubes and steam for 8 minutes.
  2. Mix the flour and oil over medium heat to form the roux. Stir frequently until it turns a caramel color and develops a nutty aroma (about 10 minutes).
  3. Sauté the bell pepper, onion and garlic in the roux until the veggies become limp (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add in the various peppers, cajun seasoning, scallions and parsley and cook for one minute.
  5. Stir in the veggie broth, wine, soy sauce and tomatoes. Note: 1:1 ratio of broth to wine is a substitute for clam juice.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil then add the tempeh and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Mix in the okra and simmer covered for an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter.
  9. Serve over long-grain rice and garnish with chopped scallions. Add tabasco to reach desired level of spice.
The étouffée turned out pretty well, but it could definitely use some refinement. The tempeh tasted fine, but the texture was off for the dish. Seitan would work better in this regard. Also, the okra was a little hard when it needs to be mushier and tender. It was still great to eat and one of the best smelling dishes you could make.

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