If you’ve never heard of it before, etouffée is a Cajun/Creole dish from New Orleans that traditionally consists of seafood (usually crawfish) “smothered” in a rich, spicy gravy thickened with a butter-based roux. So, um, unfortunately not such a vegan friendly meal. Given its focus on animal products, I should hate Cajun/Creole food, but I just can’t break up with it. I set about making a vegan version and the end result was so good, I’m tempted to throw a Mardi Gras party just to have an excuse to show it off.
Cauliflower Etouffée With Andouille [Vegan]
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon (or less) olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
- 1 (.13 gram) packet of saffron powder, divided
- 1 large pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon sherry
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 seitan sausages, sliced
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or oil of your choice
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 small white onion, chopped finely
- 1 small green pepper, chopped finely
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon (or more) paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1 splash hot sauce
- Preheat over to 375F.
- Chop cauliflower into bite size florets. Toss with enough olive oil to coat, and season with Old Bay, a pinch of the saffron powder, and salt. Roast on a cookie sheet for about 45 minutes, checking and stirring every 15 minutes, until all pieces are well-browned.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the vegetable broth, sherry, a pinch of saffron, and sugar and bring to a simmer. (I use the sugar to evoke the natural sweetness of seafood).
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large Dutch oven and brown sausage slices, then remove from pan and set aside.
- Make roux in same pot: Melt butter in a large Dutch oven, scraping up any browned bits of sausage stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in flour gradually until the consistency of gravy, adding a touch more butter if it appears too thick. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the color of butterscotch.
- Stir the pepper and onion into the roux and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste and season with the rest of the saffron packet, nutritional yeast, and remaining spices.
- Add warm broth gradually by the ladle, stirring well until incorporated.
- Bring mixture to a simmer, being careful not to allow it to boil. Simmer for at least 15 minutes until the peppers are soft, the onions are no longer visible, and the gravy is thick.
- Stir in roasted cauliflower and sausage. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, allowing the cauliflower time to soak up the gravy.