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Mock-Duck & Tofu Etouffee

[et-too-fay] A stew usually made to smother crayfish or shrimp or both, this Cajun & Creole dish can be made with most proteins so it's very adaptable for vegetarians.

You can make the etouffee ahead of time and place on low in a crockpot for hours and the flavors only get deeper. Serve with rice.

1/2 cup butter
3 onions
2 green bell peppers
4 stalks celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup flour
4 cups water
6 cups or 2 28-oz cans tomatoes, diced
Worcestershire Sauce
2 bay leaves
Juice of one lemon

1 can mock duck
1 block firm tofu
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 bunch green onion, or scallions, chopped

Press tofu block on a rack or kitchen towel with a heavy book and plastic wrap or wax paper between them, for up to an hour, until a fair amount of water releases.

In a heavy stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Peel, quarter and slice the onion. Dice pepper and celery. Cook in butter, stirring frequently until soft. Stir in garlic, too.

Stir in flour and cook until flour and onions start to show some color. Add water, tomatoes and the seasonings listed.

Bring to simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Drain and chop mock-duck. Stir into etouffee with cubed tofu, the parsley and the scallions. Allow to cook for 15 minutes and know that you can continue to cook this on low for hours for the flavors to deepen.

I make ahead of time and transfer it all to a crockpot and keep on low.

Serve over your favorite white rice, baked brown rice, or egg noodles.

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