It’s almost Mardi Gras time, and there is no shortage of ‘Nawlins dishes for inspiration. Shrimp Etouffee is a great way to celebrate the beginning of lent. You can have this along with your King cake!
Variations of Shrimp Etouffee
This dish is very similar to a fricassee or stew. Made with the holy trinity of celery, onions and peppers, this dish can be very versatile. If you don’t want to use shrimp try some chicken, crab or sausage. Season with some hot sauce or jalapenos to really spice it up. Try some wine or tomatoes. Use what you like to make it your own.
Etouffee of the Past
The word etouffee is french for “smothered” or “suffocated”. This dish was first served at The Herbert Hotel in rural Louisiana during the twenties. However, it didn’t become popular in New Orleans until some years later. Etouffee is both Cajun and Creole. In the Creole version tomatoes are added. I have decided to make the Cajun version that contains no tomato products.
OK, folks I’m going to ask you to make a stock for this one. It’s really not that difficult or time consuming. Just add some ingredients to water in a pot, and let it simmer. When you are done, strain it, and you are good to go.
This is the part that seems to intimidate some people. It’s not really not a big deal, but it is key to this dish. Melt some butter in a pan, and slowly whisk in the flour. You do have to stir this constantly, or it will burn. You want a dark, not blonde roux here. This will concentrate the flavors, and add richness to the dish.
Serve Up that Shrimp Etouffee!
NOLA definitely has it’s own unique cuisine, and this shrimp etouffee epitomizes that. This is a rich dish with authentic southern flavors. If not for Mardi Gras try this on a date night! Add some good New Orleans jazz, and let the good times roll. You will find your self down on Bourbon Street in no time!
- Shells From 2 Pounds Shrimp
- Onion Scraps
- Top & Bottom from Green Pepper
- 2 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
- Ends from Celery Stalk
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Large Onion, Chopped
- 1 Stalk Celery, Chopped
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
- 2 1/2 Cups Shrimp Stock
- 2 Teaspoons Cajun or Creole Seasoning
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper, Freshly Ground
- 2 Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
- Hot Sauce to Taste
- Salt to Taste
- 2 Pounds Shrimp, Shelled & Deveined
- In a small sauce pan pour 4 cups of water. Add to that the ingredients for the shrimp stock. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the stock gently for 30 minutes.
- Strain the stock into another small pan using a fine mesh strainer or a couple layers of cheese cloth. Discard the vegetables. Put the pot on a adjacent burner on low heat.
- Heat a heavy bottom Pot over medium-high heat, and melt the butter. Slowly add the flour a little at a time while you are whisking. Whisk constantly to avoid lumps or burning. Continue to to stir vigorously until the mixture is a chocolate brown color. This should take several minutes.
- Add the onion, green pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, and cook a couple more minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium. Add the shrimp stock to the roux and vegetables, and stir until smooth and incorporated. Add the Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire, black pepper, lemon juice, hot sauce & salt. Allow this to cook over medium heat about 10 minutes so that it all comes together.
- Add the shrimp to the mixture, and cook, covered, an additional 10 minutes. Taste, and adjust salt and seasonings.
- Serve, and garnish with parsley, green onion, chives or more hot sauce.