A Louisiana classic, this easy Cajun shrimp étouffée features a velvety sauce with just a hint of spice. Serve it simply with white rice and you can almost picture yourself hanging out in The Big Easy.
1poundmedium or large wild American shrimppeeled completely and deveined
Hot saucesuch as Tabasco or Frank's Red Hot
Kosher salt and black pepper
4cupscooked white rice
Make a brown roux by heating the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil. It will immediately begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to medium and continue whisking until the roux turns a deep brown color, about 15 minutes. (Although depending on the thickness of your pan and the heat of your stove it may darken faster!)
Add the onions, stirring them into the roux with a wooded spoon. Lower the heat to medium low and continue stirring until the roux turns a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.
When the onions have turned the roux shiny and dark, add the celery, garlic, allspice and cayenne. Cook for 5 minutes.
Then add the tomatoes and stock and raise the heat to high. Once the sauce has come to a boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn or stick to the pan.
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the butter. Add the shrimp and scallions. Season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Once the shrimp are heated through, remove the pot from the heat. Serve over rice.
Although you can use other shellfish stock for this recipe, I recommend making your own super easy shrimp stock using the shells you remove from the shrimp
Add the shells to a pot with some chopped onion, a chopped celery stalk, a couple bay leaves, some peppercorns, and of course a bit of salt.
Cover the shrimp shells with water. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, give or take. The amount of time will depend on how much water you use and how well it reduces the flavor as it simmers.
You’ll want the stock to smell shrimpy and be a nice orange-brown color. Strain out all the shells and aromatics, cool, and refrigerate or freeze the shrimp stock until you’re ready to use it. You only need 2 ½ cups for this recipe, so plan to use the rest for something else.
For the rice use parboiled long grain rice such as Zatarain’s or Golden Canilla Dorado. This type of rice doesn’t stick together and is really ideal for serving with your étouffée.
You can use a ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice, or follow the directions on the package of rice to make sure you use the correct rice/liquid measurements for that particular brand.
Melt a little butter in a wide pot and stir in some chopped onion. Cook until the onion has softened, then stir in your rice coating it with the buttery onion mixture. Add a couple bay leaves and water or broth. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the rice absorbs all the liquid.
Ideally, you want to serve your shrimp étouffée the day you make it, however you can also make it 1 day in advance and gently reheat it. Place the étouffée in a covered pot on the stove top over medium-low heat, stirring regularly until it’s heated through.
To make chicken étouffée, swap out the shrimp for an equal amount of chicken breast or tenders. Slice them into thin strips and cook them in a little oil until cooked through. Remove from the pan and follow the rest of the recipe as written, but swap out the shrimp stock for chicken broth or stock, and then stir in the cooked chicken when you would normally add the shrimp.
To make crawfish étouffée, use cooked crawfish tail meat, which is often sold frozen. Just stir in the thawed crawfish tails when you would normally add the shrimp, and heat them through.