Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tofu Etouffee Over Corn Cakes

I have been checking out cookbooks from the library so I can explore various cuisines and flavours for free. I have been having good luck with the Williams-Sonoma cookbooks--nice pictures, solid recipes, and some cultural history to boot. This recipe is inspired by the New Orleans collection. I thought the corn cakes would be a little ponderous, but they are actually a wonderful addition that complete this flavourful dish.

INGREDIENTS
Tofu Etouffee
- 1 pkg tofu, cut into small cubes
- oil
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes

- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp smoked sea salt (or regular)
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 4-5 cups veggie stock, or water
- 2 generous tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste

Corn Cakes
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups soy milk (less 2 tbsp)
- 3 tbsp oil
- 4 green onions, finely chopped

METHOD
1. Fry in tofu cubes in a thin layer of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and toss with thyme, pepper flakes, paprika, sage, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add oil, then whisk in flour to make a roux. Continually whisk for 4-5 mins, or until flour is a deep golden brown. If you burn it, you have to start again. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, celery, and peppers. Cook, stirring constantly, until veggies are tender (about 8 mins). Add a splash of water or two to the pan to deglaze if the flour sticks too much.
3. Add garlic and cook for 2 mins, then slowly add in stock, stirring well to incorporate. Stir in tomato paste and herbs. Add tofu, bring to bubbling, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 mins, allowing the sauce to reduce and thicken. Add more water if it is too thick after reducing, or more tomato paste if too thin. Season to taste before serving.

While the etouffee is simmering, make the corn cakes

1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Pour apple cider vinegar into a 4 cup measure, then fill up to the two cup line with soy milk. Whisk together, then whisk in oil. Add to dry ingredients and gently mix until just incorporated. Fold in green onions.
3. Cook, as you would pancakes, on a oiled griddle, using about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake.

To serve, place two pancakes on a plate and cover with etouffee. The pancakes re-heat nicely on a griddle the next day (can be stored in the fridge, or you can just make a 1/2 recipe), and the etoufee tastes even better as leftovers.