One of the best things I ate on our road trip was Shrimp Etouffee at the Royal Oyster House in New Orleans. I knew that this dish was a Cajun staple and had been looking forward to trying it out – but I hadn’t expected it would be the sort of meal I’d pine over just days after eating it. Well, it is that kind of dish.
I thought today was as good a time as any to share a recipe for a pretty easy Etouffee. I was lucky that this was a first time hit, because I have never made it before, but that just proved to me how easy it is to recreate well. It’s sort of adapted from this recipe, but slightly simplified and with ingredients available from the UK. Luckily Cajun seasoning is pretty popular at the moment, so it’s easy enough to pick up, but if you’re struggling to find it, you can also make your own by following this recipe.
This makes a pretty huge stew-like pot, so it’s perfect for big gatherings, or for freezing portions up. Half it to serve 3-4 with rice.
If you like your meals with a glass of wine, sweet white is recommended, but I’m no expert. It’s just as tasty with a beer.
Madames et Monsieurs, are you ready?
5 tablespoons butter or 100ml oil
3 large Spanish onions
2 bell peppers (at least 1 green)
3 stalks of chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2x 400g tin chopped tomato
Approx 4 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
level tsp cayenne pepper
1 litre fish or chicken stock
A load of shrimp – about 80-100
(Optional – substitute half of the shrimp for chicken)
A few chopped parsley leaves
2 dashes tabasco (optional but recommended)
Make a roux by melting the butter or warming the oil, and stirring in the flour until it goes a caramel-like colour and thickens right up. Like a paste.
Add in the onions, pepper, celery and garlic and then stir for about 10 minutes until they’re browned. Keep the garlic moving so it doesn’t get bitter. It might feel a little dry, but don’t be tempted to add more oil or butter.
Pour in the tomatoes and all of the seasonings and let the mix marinate for a couple of minutes before stirring in the stock. If you’re using chicken, brown it in a pan and add it now.
Bring the pot to the boil, then turn it down and simmer it. You want to keep it on the heat for at least 45 minutes, but no longer than 1 hour 15 minutes. About 10 minutes before the end, throw in the shrimp to cook through.
This is best served over slightly salted white rice and with plenty of bread, and garnished with a pinch of fresh parsley or chopped spring onions.
It’s super nice served as part of a trio like above, alongside Jambalaya and Gumbo – both of which I’ll be sharing recipes for in the coming weeks.
So now, as they may or may not say in New Orleans, Bon Apetit!