Chicken Etouffee
Forget blackened redfish; this was the best recipe to come out of the Cajun cooking fad of the 1980s.
  1. First, make a spice mixture with salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder and white pepper. Set this aside to add to the sauce at the end.
  2. Cut the chicken up into serving pieces (if not already done) and season well with additional salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper (don't use your spice mix). Let the chicken sit out for about half an hour, or until it reaches room temperature.
  3. Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper (again, don't use your spice mix yet). Fry in hot oil on both sides just until brown and crisp; it need not be cooked through. Set on paper towels to drain.
  4. Pour all but 1/2 cup oil from cooking the chicken, leaving the darkened cooked bits in the pan. Return pan to medium heat. Begin heating the stock; it will need to be simmering.
  5. When oil is hot, add the reserved 3/4 cup seasoned flour. Stir over the heat constantly, cooking until the roux (oil and flour paste) becomes deep brown. Do not allow to burn; stir all the time. This will take several minutes; keep the heat no hotter than medium (or lower) and be patient. The flavor of the cajun roux is the heart of this dish.
  6. When the color is the color of chocolate, remove from the heat and stir in the mixed vegetables. Stir these with the roux until the roux stops changing color.
  7. Bring the stock up to a boil and add the roux by spoonful, whisking until each addition is smooth and dissolved. Simmer on low heat. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the remaining diced onions, celery and bell pepper, and the green onions. Cook until soft.
  8. Add the reserved spice mix and stir well; add the chicken, and gently stir to coat. Add all to the pot full of sauce and heat over very low heat for 15 minutes. Served over hot, cooked rice.
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen