Thursday, September 20, 2012

Screw the Roux Stew from Lucy Burdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Hayley Snow, the food critic character in DEATH IN FOUR COURSES, eats a lot of meals out in restaurants. So when she's at home on her houseboat, I imagine she prefers to cook home-style food that's not too fancy but still delicious. She cooks when she's hungry, she cooks when she's anxious, and she cooks when she wants to connect with friends. Or, for that matter, squeeze information from potential sources!

So far, most of the recipes in the back of my mysteries have come from my own kitchen. But I'm always on the look-out for something delicious that Hayley could borrow. Two years ago at a get-together with friends in Key West, we ate a fabulous meal--a sort of Creole stew crossed with a jambalaya. I just had to have the recipe and I've made it many times since. It feeds a crowd, especially when served over rice. All you might need on the side is a salad. The recipe is courtesy of Mary K Hyde, who did not like the concept of having to make an old-fashioned roux, but relished the results.

MK’s Screw the Roux Stew

*1 large onion, chopped
*2–3 garlic cloves, minced
*1 large green pepper, chopped (in this case I used several colors of pepper!)
*2 stalks celery, chopped
*½ cup flour
*1–1½ Tbsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
*28-oz. can chopped tomatoes, with juice, or crushed tomatoes
*28-oz. box organic chicken broth
*Shredded meat from 1 rotisserie chicken or baked chicken
*10–14 oz. smoked chicken or turkey sausage, sliced
*12 oz. frozen chopped okra
*¾ lb. Key West pink shrimp if desired
*Brown rice, cooked

Sauté the vegetables in olive oil until soft. (In the pictures above, I chopped fresh okra--but that's only because we grow it in our garden. A package of frozen okra works just fine. And don't get weirded out by the concept of okra--it's not the least bit slimy in this recipe, and it thickens the stew. And it's really really delicious...)

In a separate frying pan, toast the dry flour over medium-low heat until browned. Stir this almost constantly so it doesn’t burn. (This is the only tricky part of the recipe--you need to be a little patient. This step might take 15 minutes.)

When the flour is nicely brown, add the Creole seasoning. (Tony Chachere's is spicy--don't omit it, but cut back a little if you don't want that much "zip.")

Mix well and add this mixture to the sautéed vegetables in a large pot. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, chicken, sausage, and okra. Bring to boiling and reduce to a simmer. The longer it simmers, the better. If you make it the day before and let sit in the fridge overnight, it will be just that much more delicious. Add shrimp just before serving, if desired, and cook a few minutes until pink. Serve the stew over rice. (My son-in-law said this was the best dish of mine he's eaten, and he likes everything!)

"Anyone who's ever overpaid for a pretentious restaurant meal will relish this witty cozy." Publishers Weekly on DEATH IN FOUR COURSES

While you're waiting for your happy guests to arrive, you can follow Lucy on twitter, "like" her on facebook, or order the books anywhere books are sold. For example, an independent bookstore, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble!

For lovers of both food and books, check out Novel Food--a marriage of two of my favorite things!


  1. Love the title! This sounds like a great dish for a chilly fall evening.

    Sometime we should all compare notes about those dishes that taste better the second time around. There is definitely a difference, if you can wait.

    1. That's the rub Sheila, sometimes you don't plan ahead that far and you are starving and you have to eat it right then!

  2. Lucy, love the title of this dish. Good title for a future book! I agree that waiting for something is hard when you're hungry, but I can't tell you how many things I've made that are better the next day. There's something about flavors soaking together. [Sort of like a book that needs to brew, isn't it? The first writing isn't always the best, but a month later, it's a good, tasty stew. LOL]

    Daryl aka Avery

  3. yes, yes, it's exactly like a book! I have one brewing right now:)

  4. This sounds terrific, Lucy! I wonder if it's mostly dishes containing tomatoes that are so even better the following day. Oh yum! This will be terrific on a cold wintery night.

    ~ Krista

  5. Yum! Sounds good and looks good! I can almost smell it simmering...

  6. Krista, hmmm, that could be. It seems like it's mostly soups and stews that get better with time.

    Ruth, so great to see you here! Hope you enjoy the stew...

  7. This looks so good! I love that combination of flavors, and the colorful peppers are such a nice twist.

  8. Gorgeous - I have to agree with Wendy, the colors and the flavors make for the kind of dish we'd all inhale and then ask for the recipe. Thanks for doing it for us, Lucy--and sharing the delicious results. Enjoy the coming (fall at last!) weekend and... Congrats on the continued success of Death in Four Courses! ~ Cleo

  9. I like the title of this book. I'd grab it off the shelf, if I saw it. I love okra and would love this roux stew.

    1. Thank you Paz! It's worth the effort I promise!

  10. So colorful and tasty-looking! I'm glad you added this to the Novel Food event: both the book and the stew intrigue me. I love a good mystery!