One thing I learned while living in South Louisiana is that those folks know how to have fun! If it’s not a crab boil, an oyster feast or a crawfish festival, your next door neighbor has made a gumbo and insists that you and the kids come over “right now while the rice is still hot”. And “just come like you are, don’t put your shoes on,- we’re all a mess anyway”.
I could go on and on about Cajun and Creole food and what I learned about them when I was there, but today I’ll concentrate on one of the most fabulous E’s I could think of, and that’s delicious Etouffee.
Etoufee is typically made with some shellfish (mine pictured above is crawfish- tis the season!) and is served with white rice. Don’t even think of trying to substitute something like brown rice, quinoa, or heaven forbid, cauliflower rice. That’s a smack in the face to any good Louisiana cook!
The first step is to make a light roux which just consists of very slow-cooked flour and oil (or butter if you prefer). To the roux you add flavorings- onion, celery, garlic, seasonings, etc… then the stock, and finally the main ingredient, the crawfish. The whole dish is then smothered (cooked on pretty low heat with the lid on)(and, by the way, where the word etouffee comes from).
Unlike gumbo and some other tasty Cajun dishes, etouffee is pretty quick to prepare and lends itself to a lot of variations. I can actually get an Etouffee on the table in 45 minutes or less if I’m in a pinch, but it’s good to know that like a gumbo, an etouffee tastes even better the next day after the flavors have a chance to “marry”.
Y’all. I can’t tell you how good this is. And easy!!
Here’s my recipe:
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. oil
3/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped (any color) bell pepper
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 bay leaves
2-2 1/2 c. fish, shrimp, or chicken stock
1 T. Better than Bouillon (low sodium chicken flavor)
2-3 T. tomato paste
1 T. Cajun seasoning (such as Tony Chacherie)
2-3 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. frozen crawfish tails (thawed)- or you can certainly use fresh is you’re lucky enough to have them!
chopped parsley and green onion (about 1/3 c. each)
- In a large heavy saucepan heat the oil and whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly (!) until the roux is about the color of peanut butter.
- Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves and cook until veggies are soft (about 10 minutes. Add chicken or shrimp stock (consistency is key! your etouffee should be pretty thick-more the consistency of a gravy), Better than Bouillon, tomato paste, Cajun seasoning and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil.
- Cook for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add crawfish tails, parsley, and green onions and cook with lid on for about 20 more minutes.
- At this point you can add about 1/4 cup of butter (for richness)
- To serve, (and for a pretty presentation) fill a bowl about 1/2 full with etouffee and then carefully place a round scoop (I use my ice cream scoop!) of rice in the center. Sprinkle with a few more green onions and a bit of parsley for flair!!
I hope you enjoy- it’s one of my very favorites!