STS Cookin': Crawfish & Shrimp Etouffee

The word "etouffee" means smothered, and there are tons of recipes for it. Some people are diehards and believe it must have tomatoes in it, but I'm not one of them. I use one similar to Paul Prudhomme. I usually save the tomatoes for making something like Shrimp Creole. Etouffee is usually made with either shrimp or crawfish tails, and with stock made from one or the other. If you want an authentic tasting etouffee, you really need to use the right stocks. I strongly recommend making your own stock for this recipe and if you make too much, just freeze it.

Unfortunately up here in the hills, you are not going to find fresh crawfish unless you catch em yourself in a creekbed. You'll basically be forced to use frozen packs, and I got these from Walmart because its the only place that had any locally. I want to warn you to not thaw and refreeze. If you thaw them, you need to cook them within a day. Crawfish's higher fat content makes them go bad quickly and they don't keep that well. Similar could be said about shrimp, so if you can get them fresh and unfrozen, thats the way to go.

Ingredients:

- 1-2 lbs of whole shrimp, it'll be better if you get them whole or with shells on, and save the shells to make a stock.

- and/or 1lb crawfish tails

- 1 good sized white onion, enough to make a cup chopped

- 1/2 cup celery, usually 2-3 ribs finely chopped

- 3/4 cup of bell pepper, usually I just use 1 green or 1/2 red, 1/2 green.

- 2 cloves garlic, chopped

- 1 teaspoon salt

- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

- 1/2 teaspoon of red/cayenne pepper

- 6 tablespoons butter

- 1 tablespoon ketchup

- 1-3 cups cooked Rice

- 1 cup shrimp/crawfish stock.

- For the Roux: 1 tablespoon flour/1 tablespoon vegetable oil

- handful of green onions and fresh parsley

Stock

Take all the shrimp heads/tails/shells and add 2 qts of cold water to a tall pot, 1 onion cut into 3-4 pieces, a rib of celery, and no salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3-4 hours. Strain. You can freeze what you don't use. Crawfish stock is made the same way. If you want to concentrate the flavor, let it reduce over simmer.

Rice

2 cups of water, boil it, add 1 cup of rice. I remove it from the heat and leave it alone for 20-25 minutes. 1 cup of uncooked rice usually will feed 3 people.

How to do it:

1. Make a medium roux. Start with the spoonful of oil and get it heated, then add some flour and stir it constantly until it reaches a medium brown (light caramel) color. Do not stop stirring it. I start with high heat and lower it to a medium so I don't scorch it.

2. Once it reaches the right color, throw in about a third of the finely chopped onion and remove from the heat. Stir it and it'll start to really thicken up. Continue to stir for about 2 minutes.

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3. In another pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter until half-melted. Add the rest of the onions, celery, bell pepper, and cook until the onions just start to turn brown on the edges.

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4. Add the roux/onion mix and stir together. Add the chopped garlic now, along with the ketchup. Cook that together for a minute.

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5. Add the seasonings, salt, black and red pepper. Don't go more than 1/2 teaspoon of red if youre a wimp, but this dish is not meant to be overly hot.

6. Add green onions and parsley, I use a handful of green tops and a few sprigs of parsley. Scrape the pan with the spoon as you stir.

7. Add the crawfish and/or shrimp and saute them for just a minute. You do not want to overcook them. If they curl up too much, they tend to become rubbery. For this recipe, since my tails were precooked, I waited until adding the stock.

8. Add the rest of the butter, and the stock. Stir it until the butter is melted. Cover it and bring to a boil, once the shrimp are cooked, remove from heat. Serve over cooked rice.

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