Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Shrimp Etouffe

I love cajun food. Unfortunately, there is no place here in Columbus to get anything that even resembles cajun. There used to be an authentic little cajun place that was known by several names: "Gloria", "Harold's Cajun Glory", and a few others, I think. It started out as this tiny 5 or 6 table hole-in-the-wall that had great acadia crab cakes, boiled crawfish(the good kind- fresh with lots of spice), andoullie, and...FABULOUS crawfish etouffe. Since Harold died a few years back, the Columbus restaurant scene has been severly lacking.
So I decided that I had to learn to make some of this wonderful food myself. I found a recipe on S.O.A.R., now called Recipe Source. It's a great resource for all sorts of recipes, including a great range of ethnic recipes. The crawfish etouffe recipe I found was a good starting point, but I really didn't have access to decent crawfish, so I adapted it to use shrimp. I think it's pretty good. Even my son likes it!
So what is "Etoufee" anyway? Let's start by pronouncing it properly.. Can you say "AY-TOO-FAY"? I knew you could...
It literally means "Smothered" in the cajun language.
Practically speaking, it is a spicy seafood stew-like sauce (generally crawfish tails) cooked in a roux (you'll see the flour added to the oil and cooked a bit in the directions below) along with the cajun holy trinity (onions, celery and bell pepper) and served over rice.

Here it is:

2 Tablespoons Butter (yeah, the real stuff)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
The holy trinity:
1 Bell Pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup Celery, finely chopped
1 large Onion, finely chopped
4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon dried Cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (or less or hot as you like)
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (or less or hot as you like)
3 or 4 or 7 or 10 dashes Tabasco Sauce (again, as hot as you like)
1 to 1 1/2 pound Raw peeled Shrimp
2 cups Chicken Broth (don't use the no-salt stuff...)
Long grain cooked Rice (for serving. I like to use Basmati -yummy...)

A note about the shrimp: I like to use medium size, 41-50 per pound. See this site for a great shrimp sizing chart

1) Melt the butter over medium heat
2) add the oil and blend with the butter
3) Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic and cilantro and saute until onion is opaque.
4) add the red pepper flakes, cayenne & Tabasco & mix well. saute for another couple of minutes.
5) Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute.
6) Sprinkle all of the flour over the pan contents and stir it aourn to mix it in.
7) Saute for about 3 minutes or so.
8) Slowly stir in the chicken broth so it blend with the rest of the pan contents...keep stirring, keep stirring, keep stirring...
9) turn down the heat to a simmer.
10) Cover and simmer for about 3-4 minutes.
11) Serve it over hot rice.

Make sure you serve it while it is very hot! (temperature hot, that is... the seasonings wil guarantee the tasty type of heat!)

Comment below and let me know how you like it.



Anonymous said...

so ummm you don't put how much flour you're supposed to use. I'm cajun, so I know about the right amount, just thought you should know.

Lorence said...

You're right! I'll correct that as as soon as I can. I've always been told that the flour should be equal to the butter/oil, so I use 4 Tablespoons of flour.

Thanks for the tip, and if you have any other recipes to share, I'd be very interested in hearing from you again!


tim said...


Read you comments about my dad's food (Harold) and wanted to let you know I have all of his recipes. I'm his only son.... now living in New Mexico... I do so miss his cooking.

Tim Smith

tim said...

I read your recipe for shrimp etouffee. I would:

Use all butter for an etouffee roux. (Use oil to make roux for gumbos; needs to be darker)

NO Cilantro. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste to the sauteed veggies.

Make the base first using shrimp stock. DO NOT add the shrimp (or crawfish) until the very end. In the old days, they added seafood to recipes at the beginning, which led to very tasty gumbos (or etouffee, shrimp creole, shrimp piquant, jambalaya, etc) but the seafood itself would shrink/end up very small, dry, tough). I much prefer fat succulent shrimp or crawfish tails.

Make a simple shrimp stock using the shrimp shells (only takes 30 minutes) instead of chicken stock. Makes a much better etouffee base.

Jeff said...


I also miss your father's restaurant. The crawfish etouffee in particular is a blonde roux holy grail I've never seen duplicated elsewhere. Does Lornce's recipe, with your comments on butter, cilantro, shrimp stock and tomato paste, come close to Harold's recipe?