This is a Creole-style shrimp etouffee made with tomatoes, fresh shrimp, and the "holy trinity" of onion, celery, and bell pepper. If you're looking to jazz up mealtimes, this is a really tasty dish to start with.
Etouffee is a French word means "smothered" or "suffocated." As you can see in the photo, the shrimp is smothered with a combination of chopped vegetables and tomatoes in a rich brown roux.
The brown roux and the addition of tomatoes are typical of a Creole étouffée.
This is also a great make-ahead recipe. Prepare the sauce but don't add the shrimp. Just before dinnertime, make the rice. Bring the sauce to a simmer, add the shrimp, and continue with the recipe.
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter*
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 1 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
- 1 cup bell pepper, green or a combination of green and red (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 8 ounces clam juice or shrimp stock
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can tomatoes (diced)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning (preferably salt-free)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Dash of salt, to taste
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 2 cups of hot boiled rice, for serving
- Garnish: fresh parsley or sliced green onion tops (chopped)
- First, clarify the butter. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Let it simmer until the foam rises to the top. Once the butter stops making crackling noises and there is no longer any foam rising to the top, remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Most of the solids will be on the bottom. Skim off any foam with a spoon. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer.
- After clarifying the butter, you will have about 4 to 5 tablespoons for the roux.
- Chop the onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Set aside.
- Put the clarified butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat and add the flour.
- Cook, whisking constantly, until the roux is golden brown, about the color of peanut butter.
- Add the chopped vegetables to the roux and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add the clam juice or shrimp stock and tomatoes, along with 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning, bay leaf, and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.
- If the sauce mixture seems too thick, thin it with a little more clam juice, shrimp stock, or some chicken broth.
- Taste and add more Creole seasoning and salt, as needed.
- Add the shrimp and continue cooking for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through.
- For each serving, put a big scoop of rice in the center of a deep plate or shallow bowl. Spoon the shrimp étouffée around the rice. Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped parsley or green onion tops.
- Serve with a simple tossed salad and crusty French bread or rolls.
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