Étouffée is my favorite Creole/Cajun meal. Along with gumbo and jambalaya, this is the classic Louisiana dish. The best étouffée features crawfish, but shrimp is a good substitute when crawfish are out of season or too exotic for your palate. As with many Creole specialties, it all starts with a roux.
Making a roux sounds difficult, but I promise it’s easy. And once you master a roux, all kinds of sauces and meals become possible, from Béchamel sauce (think macaroni and cheese!) to gravies.
Roux is simply a mixture of fat and flour, and it’s used to thicken sauces in all kinds of recipes. It can be white, blonde, or dark, depending on how long you cook it. Étouffée requires a dark roux.
This just means you have to stand there and stir until it becomes dark, like caramel. Once you have your roux, this is a stupid-easy meal to make, and it looks so colorful and pretty!
Étouffée is layered with lots of protein from the shrimp and fresh vegetables and served over cauliflower rice (see my recipe here) or regular steamed rice if carbs are not a no-no for you.
Easy, right? After making the roux, it’s simply a matter of layering in the vegetables, seasonings, and shrimp. Étouffée is loaded with flavors that you’ll love. Make it on a day when you can read a book or watch TV between stirs.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large chopped onion
- 2 chopped bell peppers (I use red and yellow because I like the taste better than green)
- 3 stalks chopped celery
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 1-quart chicken or seafood stock
- 3 pounds medium shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Cauliflower rice or steamed white rice, for serving
- In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until you have a smooth mixture. Keep stirring over medium heat until the roux is the color of peanut butter or caramel, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Now add the chopped onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes to the pot with the bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and Cajun seasoning (use less Cajun seasoning if you don’t love spicy). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the chicken or seafood stock.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Add the shrimp to the pot and stir. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, till the shrimp, are pink and cooked through. Serve the étouffée with cauliflower rice or steamed white rice. Garnish with the parsley.
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