As printed in Napa Valley Life Magazine “Cooking with Karen Crouse” Fall 2021
Etouffee in French means smothered or suffocated. In cooking, it refers to slowly cooking (smothering) in a Dutch oven. Etouffee is simply a flavorful stew made with vegetables and seafood and served over rice. It is authentic Louisiana comfort food. My version is an amalgamation of the many recipes I have tried through the years.
A friend of mine could never remember the word etouffee, so she would ask me to make “that suffocated dish.” I always knew exactly what she meant.
In this cooking adventure, you will learn to make a roux. A roux is flour and fat cooked together to create the base of a dish. It is also used to thicken sauces. Depending on how long you cook it, the colors vary from white, blond, brown, to dark brown. I prefer a blond roux for my etouffee.
This recipe is slightly like Spanish Paella. It showcases the culinary influence Spanish Settlers brought to Louisiana Cuisine and reflects Louisiana’s uniquely rich melting pot.
Number of Servings: 4
Equipment Needed: Dutch Oven, Cutting board, Chopping knife, Citrus juicer, Reamer (or strong hands), Whisk
- 1⅓ pounds Gulf Shrimp shelled, deveined & rinsed
- 1 cup unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons cold butter
- 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cup seafood or chicken stock (at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1/8 – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ – 1 teaspoon Creole/Cajun seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s Original)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cups of cooked white rice (I like Jasmine)
Toss the shrimp in the Creole/Cajun seasoning.
Melt butter over medium-high heat in Dutch oven. Add bell pepper, celery, onion, and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in flour and salt until smooth. Cook, constantly stirring until flour is lightly browned. This should take about 10 minutes.
Watch the roux carefully and stir, stir, stir, or else it will burn, and you will have to start over. While the roux will brown quicker at a higher heat, it is best to cook the roux at medium-low to medium heat until you get the hang of it. Just remember that the higher the heat, the less margin for error you have.
Stir in the stock a little at a time, so it forms a paste. Add the remainder of the stock gradually and constantly whisking until it is the consistency of gravy (not too think and not too think)
Add the shrimp, lemon juice, Bay Leaves, cayenne, Creole/Cajun seasoning, and paprika. Cook, stirring until shrimp are cooked – about 5 minutes.
Add the green onion and parsley and cook for another minute. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of cold butter.
Garnish with green onion and/or parsley. Serve over rice and enjoy it with a glass of Hess Collection Mount Veeder Grüner Veltliner.