I am a big fan of anything related to New Orleans… The culture, art, music and of course, the food! I’ve now visited NOLA three times, including Jazz Fest last year. While there last year, I had my best meal at an after-hours venue…a bowling alley of all places!. The meal was shrimp étouffée served out of a foil chafing pan at the Rock ‘n Bowl. It was soooo delicious. And that’s saying a lot since I ate very well that trip!
Shrimp (or crawfish) étouffée is a traditional Cajun dish that is usually served over rice. A rich roux forms the base of the recipe, which consists of flour and butter melted together. Traditional roux is made from lard — but I want to still fit into my jeans. It can take a bit of time to make a roux, depending on how much étouffée you’re making. When you first start cooking the roux, it looks like this:
After you have been constantly stirring, so it doesn’t burn, the roux should be the color of peanut butter, like below. (I was visualizing Jif here.)
The first time I made shrimp étouffée, it was a several years ago from a recipe I found in The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American. Unfortunately, the recipe isn’t available online. I recently made it again, this time from an Emeril Lagasse recipe on foodnetwork.com.
I adapted the recipe somewhat, first by cutting the recipe in half, since the original served 10. I also bought Emeril’s Essence spice at the grocery story, but I think next time I’ll play around with the spices more. There is a link to his recipe for Essence on the website. I would also punch it up a little more next time with more cayenne or Tabasco. This was a tad flat. I cheated a little with this recipe too. Instead of making my own shrimp stock, as the recipe suggests, I used canned seafood stock. Homemade stock would have given the étouffée more depth. So, with those notes, here we go!
Adapted from recipe in New New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch
About 5 servings
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chopped onions
- 1 cups chopped green bell peppers
- 1 cups chopped celery
- 1 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more if you want more heat)
- 2 tablespoons Essence, recipe here
- 1/2 quart shrimp stock or seafood stock
- 1-1/2 pounds medium shrimp (21 to 25 count per pound), peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
- Steamed white rice, for serving
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish
Melt the butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until the color of peanut butter, 5 to 7 minutes (see picture above).
Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes to the pot and season with the bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of the Essence. Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the shrimp stock.
Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook the étouffée, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Season the shrimp with the remaining tablespoon of Essence and add them to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Cook the shrimp for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Add the chopped parsley to the pot and stir to combine.
Serve immediately over steamed white rice and garnish with sliced green onion tops.