Shrimp Étouffée is Classic New Orleans at its best. It’s perfect for Mardi Gras with spicy shrimp cooked in a delicious roux based sauce.
I was close to the local fish market earlier today, and decided to get some shrimp if they looked fresh. As it happened, they looked excellent, so I bought two pounds of 16-20 head-on shrimp (I generally buy the head-on shrimp because I think that they tend to be fresher)
I asked the Master Taste Tester whether he would prefer Shrimp Scampi, Shrimp Creole or Shrimp Étouffée. As you can probably guess, his choice was the Shrimp Étouffée! I had actually planned on making Shrimp Étouffée during Mardi Gras season, but the time got away from me. Étouffée is a roux based dish served over rice, and is found in both Cajun and Creole cuisines. It’s made with the “trinity” and is typically finished off with either crawfish or shrimp.
I used the following ingredients for the Shrimp Étouffée: Unsalted butter, all purpose flour, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, petit diced tomatoes, salt, Creole or Cajun seasoning, chicken stock, shrimp, parsley, and sliced green onion tops for garnish. For the Creole seasoning, I used Emeril’s Essence. Also, I used a combination of green, yellow, and red bell peppers since that’s what I had on hand.
Cleaning the Shrimp:
The most time-consuming part of making the Shrimp Étouffée was cleaning the shrimp, i.e., removing the heads, peeling the shrimp, and deveining them. Anyone who thinks that deveining the shrimp is unnecessary, must have never actually seen how gross the vein can be! The fresher the shrimp, the easier it is to remove the vein. I actually remove not only the vein on the top of the shrimp, but also the much smaller vein on the bottom. Out of the two pounds that I started with, I ended up with just under 14 ounces of cleaned shrimp.
Making the Shrimp Étouffée:
The second most time-consuming part of making the Shrimp Étouffée is cutting up the vegetables. However once everything is cut up, the dish comes together pretty easily. I started by making a butter and flour roux in a Dutch oven. I cooked it over medium heat until the roux about the color of peanut butter. This took around 5 minutes.
Then I added the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the roux. I cooked the mixture for about 10 minutes. During this time, I stirred the mixture often with my roux paddle. After 10 minutes, I added the tomatoes, salt, and Creole seasoning, and cooked the tomatoes for several minutes. Then, I added the chicken stock, and brought the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until it was thickened. I reduced the heat to low, and simmered the Étouffée uncovered for 45 minutes until the vegetables were tender. During this time, I stirred the mixture occasionally. When the vegetables were tender, I increased the heat to medium and added the shrimp. I cooked the shrimp for about 5 minutes until they were cooked through.