My friend Beth is from just outside New Orleans. She wouldn’t give me a lot of details, but she promises that her marriage proposal was a direct result of her shrimp etouffee. All she’d say is that she made it for a date night and the rest is history.
That’s some pretty powerful stuff.
Etouffee, at its simplest, is a dish found in both Cajun and Creole cuisines of shellfish served over rice. It’s a kind of stew, but thicker, and crawfish is the most popular variety. However, don’t forget Beth said that she got her marriage proposal from shrimp etouffee. I’m going with her version for this recipe.
Use it wisely.
Serves 2 large portions or 4 appetizer portions
Shells and tails from 2 lb of shrimp
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, save shells for the stock
2 Tbsp Creole or Cajun seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups shrimp stock
3/4 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 oz fresh thyme, bundled with kitchen twine
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
Kosher salt or sea salt , to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp minced Italian parsley
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
Cooked rice, to serve 2 or 4, depending on meal or appetizer
First, make the stock.
Add all stock ingredients to a 2-quart saucepan. Cover this with cold water; it should be about 6 to 8 cups. You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of this stock for the etouffee and can use the rest for a seafood stew or any other soup. Bring liquid almost to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Strain.
Season the shrimp with 1 Tbsp of the Creole seasoning. Melt the butter in a large cast-iron skillet; add the onions, bell pepper and celery and sauté until translucent. Whisk in the flour to make a blonde roux, stirring constantly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining Creole seasoning. Add a small amount of the shrimp stock, stir well to form a paste, add the remaining stock gradually, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. You may need a little more stock, but the end result should be the consistency of gravy, not too thick, not too thin.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add the shrimp, green onions, and parsley; simmer for 10 minutes more or until the shrimp are cooked through. Stir in the 3 Tbsp butter, and adjust the seasonings to taste.
Nutritional Information (for two large meal servings): Calories Per Serving: 1,047, Calories from Fat: 446, Fat: 50 g, Cholesterol: 1062 mg, Sodium: 1771 mg, Carbohydrates: 40 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 109 g