Take tofu and slice open the package. Drain liquid and wrap the tofu with paper towels/ cheesecloth and set a tray or plate on top of tofu with heavy items on top to press excess water out. Leave tofu for 30 minutes up to several hours. You can apply some manual pressure to speed things up. Remove wet towels. Slice tofu into half-inch pieces. Throw into a large pot that has been coated with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to coat. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium low heat, tossing often for 4-5 minutes until tofu is a light golden color. Remove tofu from pot.
Place additional 5 tablespoons oil into a large pot that the tofu was cooked in and place over medium-low heat. Whisk in gluten-free flour and bring to a gentle simmer, (I reduced the heat down to low to avoid burning the flour.) Whisk frequently. Allow the mixture to cook and simmer until it darkens slightly in color and gives off a nutty aroma, about 10-15 minutes.
Add celery, onion, and zucchini to the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes until onion begins to turn translucent. Add bell pepper, mushrooms and garlic to the pot, cook for another 2-3 minutes more until they start to break down, mixing frequently. Then raise heat to medium and toss a few times to mix and coat the veggies. Allow veggies cook just until they soften up a bit, about 5 minutes, watching the pot closely and flipping the mixture frequently.
Add tofu, broth, tomatoes, hot sauce, paprika, thyme, salt, cayenne and black pepper and optional liquid smoke to the pot. Raise heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow the dish to cook until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes and season with salt and additional hot sauce to taste.
Divide rice among plates and top with étouffée. Sprinkle generously with scallions and additional hot sauce, if desired. Serve.