Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shrimp Etouffee

In keeping with my goal of sharing a recipe that reminds me of a city that I post about, I present Shrimp Etouffee - a Cajun delight.

Etouffee means "smothered" in French, as this dish is served over steamed white rice. This dish has a nice smooth consistency that allows it to soak into the rice.

I recommend serving it with some crusty bread and a light salad. It is a filling dish in and of itself.

I have modified this recipe slightly from one that is in the cookbook Cajun Revelation.

1-1/2 cups butter, divided in 3 portions
1/3 cup flour
1 small white onion, finely diced
1/3 cup finely diced bell pepper
3/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup chopped green onion bottoms
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic
3 tablespoons chicken bouillon (try to use powder, not cubes)
1 quart water
1 lb shrimp (use Wild Gulf Shrimp - support the N.O. economy!)
1/2 cup chopped green onion tops

Combine 1/2 cup butter (this is 1 stick) and 1/3 cup flour in a small saucepan. You are making a roux, the base of the whole dish, so stir carefully while cooking for 3 minutes over medium-high heat. It should be a blond roux. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a 4 quart saucepan or pasta pot, add 1/2 cup butter, onion, bell pepper, celery, and green onion bottoms. Cook over medium heat while stirring for 8 minutes. Add paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, and bouillon. Cook 2 minutes while stirring. Add 1 quart water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Add reserved roux and stir well with a whisk. Reduce heat to medium and boil for 3 minutes. Add shrimp, green onion tops, and stir in last 1/2 cup of butter. Turn heat to low until ready to serve. Pour over portion of white rice.

This makes 12 servings, so adjust the recipe sizing as needed.

This recipe holds a special place in my heart for multiple reasons. One, is that it reminds me of New Orleans, probably one the top 3 places in the country for food as a city. Two, this is a recipe that is a "restaurant quality" dish of mine, so I like making it. And three, it is the recipe that I used to surprise DB~ when we were first dating. I had the whole downstairs set up as a Mardi Gras for her, complete with streamers, coins, beads, and masks, the whole nine yards. Maybe without this dish we wouldn't be together!


  1. While this might be one of my favorite things you've cooked for me, I think it was the laptop set up with the slideshow of your pix from New Orleans that had me at hello that night. You know how I feel about technology!


  2. Just made this dish again, and I have to say this is at the top of my list of everything I enjoy to cook, and it gives me optimism about my culinary abilities because it always comes out awesome. If you like Cajun food, then you will love this. Let me be clear though – liking blackened food and putting a homemade or store bought Cajun spice mix on chicken, fries, or catfish doesn’t truly qualify as Cajun food, and you don’t get anywhere near the depth of flavor that a real Cajun dish gives you like this one. This recipe, based on the holy trinity (celery, bell peppers, and onion in equal quantities) of Cajun cooking is what sets the whole dish off, and without those base components, a dish can’t really be considered truly Cajun. Roux then completes the dish and everything is all tied together.

    This time, I substituted andouille sausage and it worked out well. I have also substituted chicken for the shrimp and that worked too, though shrimp works best.

    Also, cutting the butter in half in each of the steps that calls for it, except for the roux works out well if you are looking to cut a bit of the fat and cholesterol out.