Steamed (and Braised)

Terminology is important in every career and cooking is no different.  A great example would be our upcoming Creole Celebration.  With some common kitchen terminology, our preparation can be both consistent and efficient.

Etouffee is a staple of Creole cuisine.  The stew is served over rice and commonly includes crawfish, the freshwater cousin to lobster.  Interestingly, the word "etouffee", culinarily speaking, can mean either to steam (a moist heat cooking method) or to braise (a combination dry and moist cooking method).  So is etouffee steamed or braised?  The answer is both!

We will serve Etouffee during our Creole Celebration, February 28.  Our version will include shrimp, andouille sausage and vegetables.  We start by cooking onions, celery, and green peppers (a vegetable mixture referred to as the "Trinity") in a little butter just until softened.  We add garlic (A LOT of garlic) and cook for a little longer.  We thicken the vegetable mixture with roux (adding flour and stirring until a paste forms) and cook until a deep crimson color.  We add stock and tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally until beginning to thicken, cover, and let simmer.  Add shrimp, cover and let steam until shrimp are just cooked through.

Does this seem rather detailed?  For our TLS Kitchen Crew, our recipe contains two lines of instruction:  
1.Trinity braise with tomatoes and stock.
2.Steam shrimp in braising liquid.

Terminology is important.
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