Wow. I think there is something addictive in this dish. It tastes so good. I adapted it from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen. I made the roux the traditional (full disclosure: full-fat) way. I'm not a huge fan of eliminating all fats either because I think fats can carry flavors, have a role in absorbing nutrients, contribute to satiety, and good blood sugar regulation. However, her take was quite creative, and I would try it again now that I've made it and understand the steps more clearly.
The flour used in étouffée is toasted until it becomes a rich toasty brown. Getting the red-brown sauce is done by toasting the flour in a pan. Stir it a lot. You don’t want it to burn. It will smell kind of like chestnuts. I like the addition of soy sauce from the original recipe. Overall, I think this dish actually has a lot going on in terms of prep work, cooking time, and stand-by time. Read the directions all the way through, and then begin.
Tofu mushroom étouffée
Adapted from the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen's Vegan Sausage and Mushroom Etouffee
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 cup long-grain rice, prepared according to package directions
2-3 tbsp peanut oil
1 package extra-firm tofu (300 g)
2 ribs celery, chopped, about roughly
1 medium carrot, chopped into coins
1 small onion, chopped medium dice
1 small bell pepper, cut into 1" chunks
1 cup sliced buttom mushrooms, or about 8-10 sliced, wipe clean then slice
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup parsley, divided
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 cups (16 oz) vegetable broth
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp red chili powder (or paprika if you want it less spicy)
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
Cook rice according to package directions.
If you use a high-qualify pressed tofu (like one from an Asian grocer) you won't really have to press much water out of it. Slice up the tofu into squares, or cubes, really however you want to serve it. Lay it out on a plate and lightly sprinkle with salt. After a few minutes dab the tofu squares with a cloth to pick up the water. Flip and repeat.
Heat up a cast iron pan over medium heat. Pour in 3 tbsp of peanut oil and heat up. When ready add the tofu to the pan, laying out in a single layer and being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook on each side until golden-brown, about 14-20 minutes. Remove the tofu, replacing it with the other uncooked ones until all of them have been cooked.
To the same cast iron pan add in the onions and cook until just beginning to get golden brown. There should be enough oil leftover that you won't need to add any new oil. Add in celery, followed by carrots, and bell peppers. Continue to cook about 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms and stir everything carefully so the uncooked mushrooms get distributed evenly.
While you are waiting for the mushrooms to cook down, add 3 tbsp of flour to a new wide skillet or a medium saucepan. Just use a pan that you can make sure and see that the flour is changing. Cook it over medium heat. It won't turn when you're staring at it, but the second you forget about it for longer than 2 minutes, that's when it goes from white to burned. Pay attention and stir it with a whisk once a minute. Give the pan a few good shakes like you're on a cooking show. It will go from white, to golden, to still golden, to still golden, to tan, to brown and toasted. Once done remove the pan from the heat, and if you want remove the flour to a bowl until ready to use.
Stir the veggies too and now add the garlic and parsley. See what I mean about a lot of stuff going on? It's ok though because you got your rice cooking, you got the veggies done, you got the tofu on the side and ready to go.
Now get your broth ready. Once it's ready stir in about a tsp or small dash soy sauce or Bragg's. In the same pan that you used for the flour, add 2 tbsp of peanut oil and heat up over medium-high heat. Once hot add in toasted flour and whisk until it becomes like a nice chunky paste almost like miso. Gradually pour the broth mixture over whisking the mixture the whole time. It should look like a lovely brownish red sauce. Stir it continuously for 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Add the spices and remaining parsley. Continue stirring.
Once it reaches desired thickness, it should be thick without being too thick like a gravy, but thicker than a sauce. It should easily coat, or smother, the veggies. In whatever pan is bigger, pour the sauce in the veggies, or the veggies in the sauce. Remember to add the tofu to the veggies, I like keeping them separate because the tofu stays chewy much longer. Stir together and heat through.
Serve over rice. I like to add the rice into custard cups and turn them out onto a plate for a nice presentation. This dish is really delicious. I love popping open a beer and cranking up the music because it's much harder to leave any of this unattended. Maybe it'll end up as one of your favorites?
Beer pairing: a lemony saison, such as Saison Dupont, or a citrusy light hopped IPA.