For the longest time, Colts = Peyton Manning = THE WORST. To this day I have to actively remind myself that Peyton doesn’t play for them anymore. It’s my natural inclination to feel really intense about the Colts because of the Brady/Manning rivalry. That being said, just because Manning is no longer the QB, Andrew Luck is looking like a force to be reckoned with and the importance of this game is definitely there. I’m really excited to see how it plays out.
Whether or not the game turns out alright- one thing that did turn out alright was my NFL Sunday Supper meal for Indianapolis (that was a weak transition- I know). After a million plus google searches, I couldn’t really find a food item that was definitively Indy. I was pointed to pork tenderloin sandwiches a couple of times, which I guess is a thing there, but it didn’t sound appealing to me. All of my readers from Indiana have permission to verbally stone me for any blasphemy I might be spewing. Maybe next year I’ll tackle that Hoosier tradition…
But in the meantime- I had to make something. I contacted my closest friend from the area for some advice. Her name is Jen (hey girl hey!) and she just so happens to LOVE the Colts. She was also perplexed by the thought of naming something that was quintessential Indy. But what she did tell me about was a local place called Yats. It’s a cajun creole restaurant that has been there forever and is a favorite.
As soon as she told me about Yats, I remembered back to when we were in college together (around spring break my sophomore year) and either her parents had just visited from home and brought her food from Yats (or she had just been home and brought it back with her- Jen, clear up the details for me). She invited me over to watch an award show that was on TV that night and to try her food from Yats! Me not being very experienced with this type of cuisine (it wasn’t something I ever had in good ol’ Massachusetts), I was a little put off. But I piled some of the delicious mess of meat + onions + cajun spices + unrecognizable things to me, on top of some rice and dug in! It was pretty good!
That’s what I remember about this place called Yats- a new friend sharing with me something from home. I thought it was hilarious how excited she was about this food (then again, I’m the same way with dunkin donuts) but more importantly, I thought it was so nice of her to share something like that with me.
SO when she mentioned Yats to me again when I reached out to her about this project, I knew I wanted to do something that could have come straight out of that kitchen. I felt like it was the least I could do for my friend Jen! For a lot of you, a cajun creole dish for Indianapolis might seem weird, but to me it seems right.
She said her go to was the chili cheese etouffee (which would normally be served over white rice I’m assuming) and bread- I decided to make a shrimp etouffee over cauliflower rice. A traditional etouffee is usually made with seafood so I went that route.For the culinary curious… etouffee literally means “smothered” in French and I believe this refers to how the seafood or meat is cooked (it’s “smothered” by the sauce). It’s stew-like in texture and its base is started with a simple roux (which I recreated with almond flour and oil).
Paleo Shrimp Etouffee | Serves: 4
Adapted from this recipe by Deep South Paleo
Ingredients (for the etouffee)
- 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large white onions, minced
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped (I used orange because there were no red organic peppers)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbs. fresh chopped thyme
- 1 tbs. almond flour
- 1 cup organic chicken broth
- 2 tbs. tomato paste
- 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning (I used this recipe to make a blend)
- 1 tsp. hot sauce (like Franks or Tabasco)
- 1 lb. medium shrimp
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions (use to top)
- 1 bay leaf (remember to remove before serving)
- lemon wedges for serving
Ingredients (for the cauliflower rice)
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 2 tbl. olive oil or coconut oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a deep skillet and add the oil and flour. Toast this to a peanut-butter-colored roux. This should take about 10 minutes over medium heat. Be careful not to burn this. Stir constantly.
- Add the white onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the tomato paste, followed by the broth. Stir constantly until this mixture thickens. Add remaining ingredients, except the shrimp. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
- While the etouffee is simmering, place your cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulse 10-15 times until it is a rice like texture. Do not over pulse as the cauliflower will turn to mush.
- Heat a large/deep skillet over medium heat and add your cooking oil. Once warm, add in your riced cauliflower, season with salt and pepper, and toss constantly until soft and tender. Take a few bites to make sure its the texture you want it to be! Set aside when done (this will take about 10 minutes from start to finish).
- Add shrimp to your cooking sauce and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, until shrimp are pink.
- Scoop a big cup of cauliflower rice into a bowl and spoon the etouffee over the rice. Top each bowl with chopped green onions and a squeeze of lemon juice.
And while I couldn’t replace the garlicy bread that Yats serves with its food, I was able to make a healthier version of a dessert that is popular in Indiana- persimmon pudding. It’s like a bread pudding- but persimmon puree is used in the dish. I love bread pudding and had been wanting to make a recipe with the under-used, in season persimmon- so this dessert discovery couldn’t have been more perfect. I found a recipe for a persimmon bread pudding, halved that bad boy, and housed that deliciousness. I made it in a regular loaf pan because I cut the recipe in half. Also, I halved every ingredient except for the raisins. Because I love raisins. Unpopular opinion but I’m okay with it.But really- how gorgeous are these things?! They don’t even look real.Traditional persimmon pudding is packed with sugar, flour, and dairy- but this recipe has none of that! It’s sweetened with dates and filled with flavor from all the warm spices + orange and persimmon. I topped Will and I’s with vanilla coconut milk ice cream.For the big games you gotta do dinner AND dessert 😉
Keep it wicked healthy