365 Project Day 248: Etouffee Touche

What is etouffee, you may ask?  Well, it's a fancy-sounding way to call something smothered, really.  It only sounds fancy because it's French - a major cultural influence on both Creole and Cajun cuisine.  Etouffee is arguably both.  Perhaps a Cajun take on Creole food?  But I believe I've gotten ahead of myself.

Let's address that pesky Creole vs. Cajun thing.  Here's a big point of confusion: New Orleans is not now, nor has it ever been, a Cajun city.  Cajuns, in fact, do not care for cities in general.

The Cajun people were ousted from Canada by the British during the Seven Years' War.  Many of them wound up settled in the bayou country of south Louisiana, now called Acadiana.  Cajun food was brought to New Orleans by Paul Prudhomme in the 1970s, a true Cajun boy from Opelousas and a brilliant chef who got himself hooked up with the powerful Brennan restaurant family (think Commander's Palace).  Blackened catfish?  Yeah, that's him.  Cajun food is defined by heavy spice, "trash" fish, and viscera - it is the food of people who work with their hands and live off the land.

Creole food, on the other hand, is the blending of the French and Spanish cultures that took turns dominating New Orleans in the early years of its existence - and then with the many other cultures to cross its path such as African and Caribbean.  And yes, now Cajun as well.  It is the haute couture of food, and involves lots of sauces and butter.  This infographic (which I did *not* create) does a decent job of explaining many of the similarities and differences. 

Now, back to etouffee.  It's a creamy, stew-like smothered dish, usually served over rice, and its most popular iteration is made with crawfish.  If you've ever encountered a crawfish, though, you know that they are fierce and independent creatures to be admired, not eaten.  Note, then, this adaptation using mushrooms!  Breads on Oak has done it once again with this gorgeous mushroom etouffee soup.  As always, with a little effort Nola's favorite foodstuffs become awesomely vegan.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I've been schooled! I've never been to. Nola or had the dishes you mention, but this étouffée soup looks delish and comforting! :-)


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