This classic and easy shrimp etouffee recipe comes together in just minutes. It’s special enough to serve to company but easy enough for a weeknight.
What makes etouffee unique?
We love so many dishes in the two “neighboring” cuisines of Cajun and Creole. Just a take a quick look around here and you’ll find Gumbo, Jambalaya Dip, Fiery Cajun Shrimp and lots of marinades and sauces with those enticing flavors.
A common thread in many of these recipes is the combination known as the “holy trinity” (celery, onion and bell pepper). But, what makes shrimp etouffee unique is the butter. We’re not talking about just a little butter. This is a sauce with a buttery base.
Shrimp Etouffee or Crawfish Etouffee?
If you have crawfish available in your area, and it’s the right season, this recipe can absolutely be made with them. We wrote it as a shrimp recipe just because they’re available year round pretty much everywhere. Crawfish would lend a real air of authenticity to your etouffee, for sure.
For an even more authentic experience you can start your evening off with a classic Hurricane cocktail. They’re super easy and yummy!
For a more in depth look at authentic southern cuisine be sure to read Southern Food: Then & Now.
About the roux
It does involve a light roux, which is a slow and mindful cooking of flour with some type of fat (in this case butter) until the flour starts to brown. Roux can be taken to the next level and made dark and earthy, but for the etouffee we recommend stopping at light brown.
Wikipedia defines roux this way : “Roux is flour and fat cooked together and used to thicken sauces. Roux is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight. The flour is added to the melted fat or oil on the stove top, blended until smooth, and cooked to the desired level of brownness.”
The main thing to remember is to stir constantly and not take your eyes off of it or you can burn the roux. We recommend cooking the roux at a low temperature, but you can get the brown effect faster with a medium-low to medium heat.
Just be aware that the higher the heat, the less room for error. You’ll really need to watch it closely and take it off the heat a minute or so before it reaches the desired browness.
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Easy Shrimp Etouffee
- 1⅓ pounds shrimp shelled, deveined & clean
- 1 cup butter 2 sticks
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1¼ cup seafood stock
- 1-1¼ teaspoons salt
- ½ lemon juiced
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste, optional
- 1/2-1 teaspooon Creole/Cajun seasoning we love Tony Chachere's
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Melt butter over medium high heat. Add bell pepper, celery, onions and garlic and cook about 5-7 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in flour and salt, stirring to keep it smooth. Cook, stirring constantly until flour is lightly browned. This should take approximately 20 minutes but can vary.
- Add shrimp, stock, lemon juice and seasoning. Cook, stirring until shrimp are done – about 5-8 minutes
- Stir in green onion and parsley, reserving a little if desired for garnish.
- Serve over rice.
Tips for the getting the best shrimp etouffee ever:
- Adjust the salt according to whether you are using salted or unsalted butter and how much Creole seasoning is added
- Homemade seafood or shrimp stock is great to use if you have it
- Chop the vegetables, squeeze the lemon and dice the garlic ahead of time – then the whole thing comes together in just minutes
- Fresh shrimp is always best if you have it available.
- The time to cook the shrimp will vary with the size of the shrimp. Watch carefully and don’t let them overcook.
- To make it an extra hearty meal serve the Etouffee over Dirty Rice, instead of plain rice.
Before you leave be sure to check out this other classically southern shrimp recipe: Fried Shrimp just like in a restaurant is easier than you think.