The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What To Eat With That Rustic French Country Sourdough Bread -Smoked Etouffee!

dabrownman's picture

What To Eat With That Rustic French Country Sourdough Bread -Smoked Etouffee!

When I was in architectural school so long ago, way before 4 legged apprentices were allowed in the kitchen, one of my best friends, a fine designer, was of Creole decent from New Orleans - the heart of Creole Country.  Cajuns weren't well thought of in New Orleans and scarcely seen then.  His wife was and still is a Cajun from the bayou country around Lafayette - the heart of Cajun Country where Creoles were shunned and hard to find.  It’s not that they hated each other, after all they were both French based to the core, but it was a bit like thick oil and thin vinegar trying to make an emulsion without any duck fat.

Uncooked veggies and chorizo just added to the not very much roux.

Creoles were the upper crust of the French in Louisiana, the New Orleans Upper Crust merchants and the plantation owners who tried to emulate the aristocracy of France.  You can think of them as the perfectly scored ‘Paris Baguette French’ even though their blood was steeped in native American and to a greater extent the Blacks from Africa.

Smoked chicken and 2 smoked sausages - one pork, one chicken.

Cajuns on the other hand were also of French decent and mingled with native Americans more and Africans less but they also immigrated from Nova Scotia to LA instead of from France like the Creoles.  They were more rustic and country than their Creole cousins and weren't into imitating any kind of French aristocracy.  You can think of them as ‘Rustic Country French Sourdough Boules’.  The two things they could agree on was that they hated the English; with the Creoles and the Cajuns coming together to defeat the British in NO ending the war of 1812 after it had already ended on paper several week before and they liked the same kind of foods.  Even if they argued mightily over their slightly different preparation and ingredients of the same dishes it was still all gumbo in the end. 

The dark roasted chicken stock.

The Africans brought the spice, peppers and tomato to the Creoles and the Native Americans brought the crayfish to the Cajuns.  Both had that French sauce; roux, in their veins.   They say that the closer you get to NO the less tomato you will see.  This is totally incorrect.  Cajuns shun tomatoes and they weren't from anywhere around NO – the Creole heart where tomatoes are fine in just about anything.  You can always tell a Creole from a Cajun by noticing if they put tomatoes in the same dishes or not – because they make pretty much the same dishes otherwise - except for the little difference in the addition of file.  File as a spice is also Creole.  With Cajuns, file is totally optional and not required.  Cajuns also tend to put less onion, celery and green peppers in their dishes too.  Cajuns like 1 part onion, 1/2 part green pepper and 1/4 part celery.  Creoles want up to a full part of each.

Stock and beer hit the veggies and the roux.  

Needless to say, my married friends from LA were like night and day when it came to cooking authentic Creole and Cajun food from NO or the Bayous.  They both made every kind of sausage, gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee, French breads and other food treats linked directly to the French in LA be they Creole or Cajun.  Both sides claim to have invented and perfected these fine dishes but, in reality, they worked together to make these dishes world famous and world class.   All of these foods have many variations depending on who makes it and who they learned from and with mixed Creole and Cajun marriages…… anything is possible!

Meat hits the pan- it's nearly time to eat.

It was so much fun cooking with my LA friends because they would always argue over how much of what to put in or not to put in every delicious meal - what ever it was.  Both were equally fine cooks – just different.  What ever we cooked always had a 6 pack of beer consumed as we waited for the low and slow roux commonality to get that deep brick red.  Another 6 pack went down with the meal.

Served over white rice.

Etouffee is usually crayfish or shrimp, when mud bugs aren't available.  The bugs give Cajun’s their main claim to authenticity especially when made with a nice mud bug or shrimp stock - depending.  This etouffee version is smoked chicken, smoked; chicken and pork sausage.   It’s  based on a great smoked shrimp and sausage gumbo I had in KC a couple of weeks ago at one of the many BBQ joints KC is known for.

After dinner bike ride rudely interrupted by a pesky sunset.

The Brownman portion of this recipe is the Mexican; amber beer and spicy chorizo added with the veggies.   The recipe might at first seem to lean toward Cajun since no tomato is ever allowed – too sour.  Too much tomato will spoil any sofrito too.   But the file, spices, peppers and ratio of veggies is pure Creole through and through.   The Mexican influence is unmistakable too.  Us 3, the old friends and cooks, are all represented in this fine etouffee that I’m sure each of us would be proud to call our own.   But I’m certain, both of them would want to change it to better suit their Cajun or Creole tastes.  So, it is not theirs – it’s all mine.

The sunset got better a few minutes later.

I prefer it served over large French Rustic Country SD croutons just to make it more Cajun and even the Creole tilting playing field.  But this time it was served over the traditional rice.     Call it bad planning or possibly fear of too much French :-)

In tribute to the previous nights orange sunset, an orange breakfast of Stan Ginsberg's Bagels, Minneola Medium Caramelized  Marmalade and Cantaloupe.  A magnificent 24 hours of nostalgia, etouffee,  orange; sunsets and breakfasts the Cajun, Creole and Brownman way.  Wish you guys were here to enjoy it with me as I enjoyed our cooking together so long ago. 

I'm such a doofus for forgetting to post the recipe.  Where is that apprentice when you need her?

Smoked Chicken Sausage Etouffee


 1 pound smoked boneless chicken – your choice - we use thighs

½ pound each of smoked pork and chicken sausage

¼ pound chorizo

1 C water

2 C dark roasted chicken stock

1/8 cup grape seed oil + 1/8 C Butter for the Roux Or all oil if you want

2/3 cup flour

1 small onion - diced

2 stalks celery – diced

1 small green bell pepper – diced

1 amber beer - or less if you taste test to make sure it isn’t spoiled –Bohemia preferred

2 bay leaves

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T Creole seasoning – equal parts; salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, smoked paprika, paprika, cayenne pepper - 1 T each for the roux and veggies.

2 T Creole seasoning for the chicken and sausages before smoking

½ tsp of Gumbo file - some say it is optional but it isn’t around here.

Tabasco sauce for individual serving heat if the Creole seasoning isn’t hot enough for you or others.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over white rice with some buttered French SD bread to sop up anything left in your bowl.  We sometimes just make huge French SD croutons and serve the etouffee over them instead of rice – great for folks who don’t like rice but love SD..

Make the chicken stock ahead of time.  Etouffee deserves the very best stock.

Smoke the chicken, sausage and chicken sausage with the Creole seasoning . 

Heat oil and butter in large skillet until it is hot but not quite smoking.  Add the flou and 1 T of the Creole seasoning, turn down the heat to low and cook the roux while constantly stirring until a dark peanut butter color is achieved.  This is called a blond roux even though it will be a brick red and may take 20 minutes or more.  Add the vegetables, the chorizo and 1 T Creole seasoning and cook while constantly stirring for about 6-8 minutes until the vegetables soften and the roux gets darker.  Make sure not to burn anything.

Turn heat up to medium.  Add the beer and chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Cook while stirring until the mixture boils and thickens to correct consistency10-15 minutes.  Etouffee is a thicker sauce than Gumbo.   Add in the smoked meats and cook for about 2-3 minutes until the meat is just heated through.  The chicken should be chopped into ½" cubes and the sausages cut into ¼" thick coins. Have Tabasco ready for those who want more heat.   Serve over plain white rice or some kind of rustic French SD croutons Which is my preference.  For a more smoked flavor you can smoke the finished etouffee in the smoker too.

 If 3 Cajuns or Creoles are making etouffee you need about 12 additional beers while making it in order for them to have a good time and learn to get along while working hard on that roux that takes patience and low heat.


isand66's picture

Great post DA.

I wish I could try some of that fantastic Etoufee!


dabrownman's picture

went well together.  Glad you liked the post.  Will expect some etouffee bread out of you once you make some fror a taste - a fine recipe that just takes time, smoked meat, beer and little roux skill.

Thanks again.

isand66's picture

If you get a chance please email or post your recipe.  I have made something similar a long time ago and would love to try your recipe.  I need to taste it myself to be inspired to create a bread to go with it.  I made a stuffed crawfish bread once many years ago to go along with some spicy Jumbalaya.  It took me a week to find some frozen crawfish on Long Island but it was worth it in the end.  I think I dumped every dried pepper variety I owned into the pot if I recall.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Which KC barbecue joint did you happen upon for the gumbo? Was it BB's Lawnside?


dabrownman's picture

I wish we had just happened upon it.  I sure wish it was BB's Lawnside, or any of so many other places we could have eaten.  Instead, we chose to eat at Oklahoma BBQ.  I know, I know!!!!   Never ever eat a BBQ place in KC that someone you know and trust hasn't recommended.  We should have known better when they had Oklahoma in their name.  We deserved it for being stupid.  This was a relatively new place in Leawood at 118th and Roe that the paper was raving about and how it was one of the 13 places in the USA you had to eat at before you die.  We went by the place the day before and people were lined up outside and it smelled smokey enough like it was a good BBQ joint.  Turned out the pulled pork was 1/4 the thickness of the each side of the bun - no taste.  Served stuff on tortillas instead of white bread.  The ribs were average but the Smoked Gumbo was OK and I had never had it smoked.  Didn't try the brisket or sausage.  3 sauces were OK too.  Not good enough reasons to eat there ever again - expensive too since it was in Leawood.

People were lined up outside the door for miles like the day before and this place has been open a while too.   Have folks in KC forgot what BBQ is all about?  Very disappointed in them and myself for being stupid.   Should have asked Paul or you for the skinny.  I'll take a hole in the wall like Wyandotte or Waldo, where the Farm to Market Bakery is, any day over a place like that.

Farm to Market Bakery is doing 70 restaurants and 40 grocery stores with their bread now.  We heard about them on TFL and saw about 6 different kinds of their breads at Hen House.  They all looked good but didn't get a chance to taste any as we were hunting for heirloom tomatoes.    Apple Walnut bread was a really nice looker and wish we had bought one.

Next time it's BB Lawnside what ever else you recommend at the time.

dabrownman's picture

Double post

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Farm to Market is still doing very well in the KC market. Thom Leonard, formerly of Wheatfields in Lawrence, KS, went there in a managerial/supervisory type roll a few years ago according to Maggie Gleszer's book "Artisan Baking". I don't know if he's still there or has followed his muse to another project. Fevure is said to be the leading artisan/craft bakery in the area now but they don't do commercial volume baking. Paul has been there and speaks highly of their bread.

The original Oklahoma Joe's is the one that Anthony Bourdain raved about. Located in a gas station and next to a now closed liquor store, it was said that if you went there you could get gas, gas, and gassed in one stop. It's very different from the Leawood site.  The next time you're in town, you might try the Jack Stack Barbecue located in the Freight House district near Union Station. It's not a cheap dinner but the service and food has been excellent each time Mrs PG and I ate there. Their location on 95th and Metcalfe isn't too bad but the Freight House location has a LOT more charm and atmosphere. The Mrs and I will probably go there on my upcoming birthday. The ribs and brisket there are really good, so good you feel ashamed to put sauce on them.


dabrownman's picture

Jack's old Stackhouse which was out by RC's (the 2nd best place for fried chicken in KC) if memory serves me rightwas known for their steaks too.  Their BBQ was very good at the old place.  We have been to Jack Stack before and should have gone there instead.  A. Bourdain, as much as I like his travelogue cooking shows, wouldn't know BBQ from his pork butt.  It's not his fault he is a Yankee from NYC.  The closest Bourdain got to BBQ was when he watched a whole hog being BBQ'd  in the Philippines one time on TV and I like PI Pig very much.  That is about as close as Anthony has been to BBQ.  But each site is different as you say.

Old man Gate's used to buy ribs from my Dad.  He would come into the store with food stamps to buy boxes of them - perfectly legal and resulted in the biggest seller for that store.  Gate's customers didn't have much money but they could apparantly barter for ribs with foods stamps - very illegal but at least they were buying some fine food with them instead of something else.  My old favorite was Oscars's off the Vinyard Drive.  He closed but his ribs and pulled pork were perfection.  That goes back a few years though.

In AZ you have to smoke your own to get some decent smoked meats. I like sauce on the side too with just a light glaze on the meat to shine it up.

Hope you enjoy your birthday BBQ at Jack's in the Freight House District!


varda's picture

Lovely meal and sunset.    Could use some of that around here.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture

This time of year, with the dust storms and monsoon wind and rain, the sunsets are the best.  Nothing like a good etouffee and  cold beer with family and friends.

Glad you liked the post.

dabrownman's picture

apprentice leaves me hanging out there on a limb and looking like the doofus I really am.  Thanks for noting I forgot to post the recipe!  Typical.  It's up now.  Stuffed Crayfish Bread sounds better than a side of  Possum Pelt Polenta.  Was it SD?

pmccool's picture

I thought Big Brother had decided that it was a carcinogen.  Sassafrass isn't used in root beer any more either, if memory serves (and it so often doesn't!).

Bureaucrats aside, the etoufee looks fabulous!


dabrownman's picture

grand Paul and thanks for the fine comments.  Next time I'm asking you where the new good BBQ place is in KC that you have to eat at before you die.  Didn't know that Gumbo File was persona non grata with the food police now a days.  I've only got a 1/4 of a bottle left.  Guess I will have to forage for some fresh leaves next time I get a chance and put them into cryogenic storage.

I wondered why the root beers went horrible all at once.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Visit your friendly local Penzeys spice store or their web site. There's no need to buy any bootleg or illict file.

dabrownman's picture

good to know. Still like to forage though.  Wish I was back in KC and able to get fresh Morels on a walk through the woods.

Thaichef's picture

Good morning dabrownman:

  I have come to the conclusion that there aren't anything in foods that you don't do well! Wow! another masterpiece.  Enjoy your wonderful post so much. Thank you for sharing. 

By the way, how about a cook book? Your many wonderful  cooking and baking posts on TFL alone are better than many I have seen in "dry" cook book.


dabrownman's picture

Since I always cooked from memory, my daughter asked me to write down my recipes a couple of years ago so that she could have them.  It took a year but they are about 85% done and organized into a Word cookbook that has several hundred recipes, way more than 300 now.  This one I wrote down a couple of days ago from my master Crayfish Etouffee recipe and when we went to make Pate Maison the other day, I noticed it was missing from the French appetizers.  So strange how many recipes we find are still missing from the cookbook.  We do about 2 or 3 a week now.

I have broken down the cookbook into Spanish/Portuguese, Italian, French, North American, Polynesian, German, Middle East/Oriental, Jewish,  Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Central and South American.  Each has sub categories of condiments, breads, appetizers, soups, sides, veggies, meat (chicken, pork, beef),  fish, sausages,  deserts, drinks/ beer/liquors, salads, spices/rubs/herb and spice mixtures, and sauces.  Some like meat have sub categories,  Deserts have sub categorise of cakes, pies, cookies, ice creams, pastries and candy.

Now I am going back and writing about who, how and where I came to these recipes - if I can remember.  The story of my friends from college, The Greens from Louisiana, which I posted here is one of those stories.  I figure we should have it done in 10 years if my apprentice gets her 4 appendages working to that end!

Glad you liked the post and thanks for your nice comments.

isand66's picture

Sign me up for a copy of your book!  I can't wait to read it!

dabrownman's picture

being breads.  Amazing how things can change in 3 and half years:-)  Still running into recipes that aren't in the book too.  Now its spread out on a back up drive and 2 laptops.  I have to get it all in one place and properly backed up!  I'm shooting for 2000 recipes -  more than one bread and one other recipe for each day of the year :-)

isand66's picture

I'm waiting!  If you make it any bigger I may not last long enough to read all of the recipes :).