The Cajun dish of shrimp étouffée is a classic that should not be missed when in Louisiana. The dish features fresh Gulf shrimp, along with the Cajun holy trinity of onion, celery, and bell pepper, all brought together with a rich flour and butter roux.
To begin, let’s take this Shrimp étouffée very seriously. The seafood stock makes this sauce so delicious, so be sure to use shrimp that still have their heads and tails on (at the very least with tails). When cooked thoroughly, shrimp heads add a tremendous amount of flavor to the stock and the étouffée itself. Get ready to understand why this is necessary as soon as we launch.
You can swap the shrimp for crawfish if you’d rather have crawfish étouffée. You read that right; it is that simple. You should also get the rice going before you do any other cooking. It’s always a bummer to wait for the rice to finish cooking after the main course is already ready to eat.
- 3 tbsp. of oil(divided)
- 1 lb. of whole shrimp (450g, peeled and deveined; reserve the shells and heads)
- 3 pcs. of bay leaves
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 1 cup of water
- 4 tbsp. of butter (57g)
- 1/3 cup of flour
- 1 tsp. of dried thyme
- 1 tsp. of dried oregano
- 1 tsp. of paprika
- 1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. of salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp. of white pepper
- 1/4 tsp. of black pepper
- 1 cup of onion (diced)
- 1 cup celery (diced)
- 2/3 cup of bell pepper (diced)
- 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 1/4 cup of scallions (chopped)
- ¼ cup of parsley (chopped)
- 4-6 cups of cooked white rice
- All shrimp heads and shells should be added to a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil and heated over high heat. The shrimp are ready when their heads are tender, and the shells have turned bright orange from searing. Turn the heat down to low, add the water and chicken stock, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. The flavor can be extracted by pressing the heads and shells with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add another 5-10 minutes to the stock’s simmering time. Don’t be faint of heart here! It will be worthwhile in the long run.
- When the stock is done, take it off the heat and strain it into a bowl. About 2 cups of shrimp stock should have been made. Putting aside.
- Butter should be melted in a large saucepan over medium heat, and then flour should be whisked in gradually until there are no more lumps. Bring this roux to a medium brown color by keeping it on the stove over low heat (about 5-7 minutes). Always whisking can prevent burning.
- Add herbs and spices (thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper) to the roux. The spices will only release their full flavor after being mixed for 20 seconds. Add the onion, celery, bell peppers, and garlic to the pan and continue stirring for one more minute.
- After adding the shrimp stock, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Put the sauce on medium heat and throw in the peeled shrimp and scallions. For about 3 minutes, while stirring constantly, the shrimp will cook.
- Combine the remaining tablespoon of oil and the parsley with the rice, setting aside some of the parsley for garnish if you like.
- Put the étouffée over rice and sprinkle with the reserved parsley before serving.