Submitted by OkWB Community Manager, Stephanie Clinton
Here is a little factoid you may not know about me….I’m half Cajun. My mom was born in New Orleans to full-on Cajun parents. My grandparents spoke French before they spoke English. My mom grew up in a suburb outside of Houston because that is where her dad found work, but just as soon as they could my grandparents moved back to Louisiana to a little farm near Lake Charles. My mamaw was an incredible cook and made the best gumbo I’ve ever tasted. I’m sure that part of her secret was that the chicken in the gumbo had been alive and running around the chicken yard just hours before.
Since Fat Tuesday is next week I thought I would share with you my shrimp etouffee recipe. I prefer to make this with crawfish but I’ve had a hard time finding them in the store this year and when I do they are upwards of $14 per lb. I love crawfish but not at that price. Shrimp is a good substitution.
Shrimp Etouffee Ingredients
1-2 lbs raw shrimp
1/2 stick butter
2-3 heaping Tbs. flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 can crushed tomatoes
red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
The first thing to do is get all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go. Thaw the shrimp (if they are frozen) and chop all of your vegetables. The celery, bell pepper and onion is referred to as ‘the holy trinity’ in Cajun cooking. It goes into pretty much everything. Most people use green bell pepper but I hate green bell peppers so I always use red.
Next comes the roux. The roux is pretty much the base for most dishes and getting it right is very important. Cook it too long and your dish will taste burnt. Don’t cook it enough and you will taste the flour. It’s very temperamental and you can’t leave it alone. You must babysit your roux like a fussy baby, you have to stand over it and give it your full attention. Another thing about roux. Many recipes call for vegetable oil instead of butter. I like butter but I think either way is fine. If you want to use oil, use about 1/4 cup.
Heat butter in a heavy skillet or pot. Melt butter and add flour. Stir constantly. Remember how I just said you have to babysit it? You have to constantly stir the roux to prevent burning. It’s about a 30 minutes stirring process. Now, here is the hard part…knowing when your roux is ready. It’s all in the color. It needs to be somewhere in-between a deep caramel color and milk chocolate. If you get too close to a chocolate color then you run the risk of burning the roux and once that bad boy is burnt you may as well start over. Have your veggies ready to go because roux can go from just right to too dark faster than a duck on a junebug.
Add your veggies and garlic to the roux and sauté until soft. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Add crushed tomatoes, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and about 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes. (you can always add more red pepper flakes if you like more heat, but you can’t take them away)
Add shrimp and stir to combine. Add bay leaf and simmer on low for 30 minutes until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve over rice.
I’m afraid to say that I don’t have a picture of the finished product. I’m not a very good food blogger, I know. We start eating and before I know it everything has been eaten up and no photo was taken. Sorry. Suffice it to say, it was delicious.
Stephanie is a writer, blogger and avid housework avoider. In addition to being a Community Manager for Oklahoma Women Bloggers, she also writes her own blog, Hugs, Kisses and Snot. Discover parenting, humor and all sorts of shenanigans at hugskissesandsnot.com