I've mentioned before my husband used to travel a lot and have a nice expense account to go with the job. We've counted that he's been to nearly all the 48 contingent US states, a couple US territories and at least 6 foreign countries. One of the things my husband likes to do when he travels is try new food and new restaurants. He waxes fondly about certain meals or restaurants in particular.
A couple years ago when I was working two jobs and he was out of work completely, we decided that my husband would give me a bit of a break and cook at least one meal a week. He's not much of a cook, so we found a few recipes that were quick and easy or he could put in the slow cooker. But one week he was feeling nostalgic for crawfish etouffee.
On his own, he researched some etouffee recipes and spent half a day looking for crawfish in our town. Finally he settled on a recipe and instead of crawfish (which he couldn't find), shrimp. His meal was appreciated and good, but it wasn't spectacular. The roux didn't have a deep enough flavor, nor did it have enough heat.
Recently we decided to try again. I took the recipe my husband used along with a couple other recipes I've had stored in my "to make" file. Even though I make light roux frequently, I don't often make a darker roux, so I also searched around for a few roux tutorials, just to make sure I wouldn't have to dump a batch and start over.
The end result was a combination of about 4 different recipes. My husband has declared it his new favorite. If you can find crawfish, by all means use it. Otherwise, shrimp works nicely in this dish. My husband hates celery, which is a traditional ingredient in etouffee. If your family likes celery, cut the other vegetables a bit and add some celery.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cups green bell pepper, diced
3/4 cups onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup water
1/2 - 2/3 pound shrimp, cooked, shelled and deviened
3 cups cooked white rice
Melt butter in a large skillet. Add flour and whisk. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes until roux is a caramel brown. Add vegetables and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Add spices, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Pour in chicken stock and water and stir until smooth. Add in shrimp and simmer 5 - 10 minutes until mixture has slightly thickened.
Pack a small dish or measuring cup with rice. Turn it upside down in the center of a plate or shallow bowl. Dish a portion of the etouffee in the bowl. Serve.
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