Found in both Creole and Cajun cuisines, étouffée is most commonly made with crawfish tails, which have a distinct flavor, but crawfish have a short season and aren’t readily available in most places. This version, with shrimp, is more than a worthy substitute, and an excellent dish all its own. The dish takes its name from the French word "étouffée,” which nods to its protein being smothered with sauce. This recipe uses a shortcut version of a roux: The flour is added after the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic have already been sautéed in the butter. If you omit the hot sauce, add apple cider vinegar in its place.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2celery stalks, thinly sliced
- ½green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- 3tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2tablespoons tomato paste
- ¾cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste
- 1dried bay leaf
- 2teaspoons store-bought or homemade Creole seasoning (see Tip)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1scallion, green parts chopped
- White rice, for serving
Step 1In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper, and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute.
Step 2Sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and stir constantly until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and stir and cook for 1 more minute.
Step 3Pour in the stock and 3/4 cup water. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the hot sauce, bay leaf, Creole seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.
Step 4Stir in the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the shrimp is cooked through and opaque, about 5 minutes, turning each piece halfway through. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle the scallions on top. Serve warm over rice.