Shrimp Étouffée is Classic New Orleans at its best. It’s perfect for anytime with spicy shrimp cooked in a delicious roux-based sauce.
Shrimp Étouffée is one of my favorite dishes to serve at an informal dinner party. The sauce for the Shrimp Étouffée can be made well ahead of time. Guests tends to congregate in the kitchen to enjoy pre-dinner appetizer. This sets the stage for my guests to be observers in the final stages of preparing this amazing dish.
You are watching: How To Make Etouffee Roux
Right before its time to serve the étouffée, I heat the sauce and add the shrimp. After 5 to 7 minutes, the shrimp are perfectly cooked and the Shrimp Étouffée is ready to be served.
First you make the roux
As is true with many classic New Orleans dishes, roux, pronounced as “ROO” is a major component of Shrimp Étouffée.
All roux starts with the same basic ingredients – roughly equal parts by weight of flour and fat. Roux is used to thicken sauces and soups. Unlike other thickening agents, roux produces a silky texture. The reason is that the starches in the flour and the fat combine and eliminate any rough granules. As this occurs, the roux binds to other fats in the sauce or soup allowing it to thicken naturally.
There are basically three different types of roux – white roux, blond roux and brown roux. What distinguishes one type of roux from another is how long it cooks and how colored the flour becomes.
White roux is the basis of Béchamel or white sauce. A white roux is only cooked for several minutes to get rid of the flour’s raw flavor.
Blond roux is so named because of its light caramel color. It is cooked a bit longer than a white roux to produce a nuttier flavor. Blond roux is used for Velouté and can be substituted in recipes calling for a white roux.
Brown roux is the foundation of roux-based New Orleans dishes such as étouffée and gumbo. Of the three types of roux, brown roux is the darkest and most flavorful. Its color can range from a peanut butter color to a maple syrup color. As the flour cooks, it loses much of its thickening power, but takes on a deep rich nutty flavor.
Then you add the Holy Trinity
The holy trinity consists of onions, bell peppers and celery. The holy trinity forms the base for many of the classic New Orleans dishes. It is thought that the Cajuns adapted the French mirepoix to the vegetables readily available in Southern Louisiana. Much speculation surrounds the origin of the term “holy trinity.” However, many attribute its common day usage to chef Paul Prudhomme in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Is Shrimp Étouffée Cajun or Creole?
The answer is “it depends.” Historically, Cajun dishes were thought of as country food and Creole dishes were referred to as city food. While both have French influence, Cajun Étouffée differs from Creole Étouffée in two ways.
The first is the fat that is used in the roux. Generally, Cajun roux calls for flour and oil. Creole roux uses flour and butter. The second is tomatoes. Cajun Étouffée typically does not contain tomatoes whereas Creole Étouffée does include tomatoes.
Based on this, my Shrimp Étouffée is Creole. I use butter in making the roux and add tomatoes to the sauce.
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
6 cloves garlic minced
1 cup petit diced tomatoes undrained
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning
2 cups chicken stock
1 pound peeled and deveined medium to large uncooked shrimp (See Tips 1 and 2)
2 Tablespoons minced parsley leaves
Cooked white rice for serving
Minced parsley or thinly sliced green onion tops for garnish
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until it reaches the color of peanut butter, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic to the roux; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes along with the salt and Creole seasoning. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the chicken stock.
Bring the mixture to a boil stirring constantly until thickened. Reduce heat to low; simmer the Étouffée uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Can be made in advance up to this point.
Heat Étouffée over medium heat; add the shrimp, stirring to evenly distribute. Cook the shrimp for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are cooked through. (See Tip 3)
Add the chopped parsley and stir to combine. Serve immediately over cooked white rice; garnish with minced parsley or sliced green onion tops.
Yield: 6 servings. (See Tips 4 and 5)
Chula’s Helpful Tips
1. I prefer to purchase head-on in the shell shrimp and clean them myself. The reason is that they tend to be fresher than the shelled and deveined shrimp. Whoever thinks that shrimp doesn’t need to be deveined has never cleaned shrimp.
2, You can substitute chicken for the shrimp to make a delicious Chicken Étouffée. Start by cooking thinly sliced chicken breast in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter for 4 to 5 minute. Remove chicken and set aside. Add cooked chicken to the Étouffée sauce at the same time as you would add the shrimp. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
3. Shrimp are very delicate and don’t take much cooking. You don’t want to overcook shrimp because they become tough and lose their delicate flavor when overcooked.
4. I like to serve Shrimp Étouffée spooned around a mound of white rice. Add crusty French bread and a chilled Chardonnay for a meal fit for a king.
5. Even though you don’t want to overcook shrimp, leftover Shrimp Étouffée can be gently reheated, and is just as good the next day.
Chula King is the blogger behind coral-beachresortsharjah.com.