Should Etoufee be sweet?

phatch

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I made Emeril's Chicken etoufee tonight. I picked it after looking at others because Emeril used a lot less sweetener than some of the others. 

I didn't follow it precisely. I used less fat, only about 3 tablespoons as opposed to 10 and I used far less hot sauce. And still no one added extra at the table. I added some cider vinegar to restore some of the acidity my reduction of hot sauce reduction. Still, it was surprisingly sweet to my taste. Is that something that the heat would otherwise have balanced out or is sweetness really that much of the etoufee experience? 
 
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I certainly don't think of etouffee as being sweet. I was blown away to see that Emeril includes sugar in his. That's a new one to me.
 

phatch

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There were versions with honey, karo syrup and more. It was kinda scary to look at. 
 
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WOW!! I am flabbergasted! I thought I knew etouffee. Paul Prudhomme must be rolling over in his grave. :~(
 
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No. I've never had sweet étouffée and can't imagine why anyone would want to. I don't remember it having sugar when I was in New Orleans and it would never occur to me to include it for any reason. It's a savory dish like gumbo and jambalaya. 

I'll have to check my paper cookbooks but maybe it's some kind of editing error in an online recipe and it just got repeated without anyone questioning it or actually making the recipe. 
 

pete

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I have never heard of using sweeteners in Etouffee and have never had one that I thought of as "sweet."  Now I'm going to have to go back and check some of my cookbooks and re-acquaint myself with the recipe.
 

phatch

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phatch

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I'll have to check my paper cookbooks but maybe it's some kind of editing error in an online recipe and it just got repeated without anyone questioning it or actually making the recipe. 
That's a reasonable view, but he mentions it in the instructions as well. Might just be the writer being thorough with the ingredients list though and not Emeril's intent. 
 

phatch

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Id never made it before. Certainly now I would skip the sweetener.
 
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I suggest looking at Prudhomme's version for a baseline (click here). If you do it exactly as written--or you can look up the ingredients in those seasoning mixes in his cookbook Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen--you will find that it actually is rather sweet. This is because of the deep caramelization of vegetables, the sweet seafood, and a great deal of butter. Once you've tried it once, you have an idea what it traditionally tasted like in places like Opelousas, and you can decide where you want to take the dish to suit your tastes and preferences.

I guess I can imagine using pure sugars to substitute for some of the buttery lactose, but beyond that it seems weird to me.
 
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This won third place in a world crawfish ettouffee cook off in Eunice, LA a few years ago.  No sugar.

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JiMyra’s Award Winning World Championship Étouffée

2 pound unsalted butter

5 pounds onions, chopped fine

6-8 bell peppers(red and green), chopped fine

6-8 celery ribs, chopped fine

1 pod garlic, chopped fine

2 cups blonde colored roux

1 ½ Tablespoons ground red pepper

1 Tablespoon ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon ground white pepper

2 Tablespoons salt or to taste

1 teaspoon thyme

Up to 8 ounces crawfish fat, or as much as you can get

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

3 (másy menos) cups clam juice

3 (másy menos) cups dry white wine

10 pounds fresh crawfish tails

3 cups finely chopped green onions tops

3 cups finely chopped parsley

Tabasco sauce to taste

Melt butter in a large heavy pot. Add the onions, bell peppers celery and

garlic. Sauté, stirring often, until the vegetables are very soft, about 45

minutes.

Add ½ cup roux and continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the roux is completely absorbed.

Stir in the ground peppers, salt, and crawfish fat. Cook 10 minutes longer,stirring often.

Stir in Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup of the clam juice and 1 cup of the wine.

Then alternately add stock and wine, a cup at a time until the mixture reaches the right consistency. Add additional roux if needed. Simmer about 30 45 minutes.

Add the crawfish. Cook another 10 minutes.

Add green onions tops and parsley, reserving some for garnish and cook another 5 minutes.

Turn off heat and let stand a few minutes until seasonings blend.

Serve over cooked rice.

Serve Tabasco on side. Garnish with green onions tops and parsley.

Serves 60.

Note: Substitute homemade chicken stock for the clam juice and crawfish fat
 

phatch

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The amount of fat in these recipes would also trigger some digestive distress in me. That's why I trimmed down the fat content.  No doubt delicious with the seafood though.
 

pete

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The amount of fat in these recipes would also trigger some digestive distress in me. That's why I trimmed down the fat content.  No doubt delicious with the seafood though.
Yes, Etouffee is a rich dish.  Definitely not for the faint of heart!!!!
 
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Sounds nice @Jimyra, would have to break that down from 60 to 6 though.

I have added very light sprinkles of sugar to meat just for something different, but for a stew and sauces really the only use for sugar I see is to balance the acidity of added wine or vinegar, but with lots of caramelized veggies not much need here.  I have, on the occasion of watching his show, wondered exactly who it is that Emeril is cooking for.
 

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