Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shrimp Etouffee

I have secretly loved all things New Orleans since a high school band trip to the Sugar Bowl. Daydream with me -- Jackson Square, Cafe du Monde with cafe au laits and fresh, hot beignets, a ride down the river on the Natchez. Historical tours and street performers, our own performance and college bands, I loved every minute of it. I ate worked my way through college in a Cajun restaurant, living on crawfish, dirty rice, and blackened everything.

It seems ridiculous that until this week, I'd never really made any Cajun food at home. Apparently my brain has been shut off for the last 10 years. I don't have to wait any longer and neither do you! My dad doesn't have to wait, either. I sent him leftovers and he thanked my hubby for sharing. A second batch was quickly on its way.

Shrimp Etouffee
Serves 4

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
4-5 celery stalks
1+ tablespoon Creole seasoning
2 cups beef or shrimp stock (Check this out for more information on making a stock from the shrimp peels. I usually use beef stock for both color and because this shrimp I regularly buy are already peeled.)
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low. Add oil and flour, stirring to make a roux. Continue to cook, stirring to prevent burning, until the roux is a dark brown, about 20-25 minutes.

Your roux will slowly go from this
To this, in all of its delicious & nutty flavor glory. I love watching the color change. I also love watching KU (or anyone!) beat Mizzou, which is what I did here.
While your roux is doing its thing, dice the onion, green pepper and celery. When the roux is dark and smells like nutty heaven, add in the vegetables and Creole seasoning, stirring to combine.
Don't panic, this doesn't look like etouffee at all. Bear with me, we're almost there.

Cook the veggies 4-5 minutes, until they are fragrant. Slowly add in the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to develop the sauce.
Bring sauce back up to a boil and add the shrimp, cooking until they are just pink and tightly curled.
Remove from heat and serve over rice.
Spicy deliciousness!

If you want to make your own Creole seasoning, its really simple and you probably have all of the ingredients on hand. Ease up on the Cayenne if this is too spicy for your taste.

Creole Seasoning:
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all ingredients until you have a uniform color. If you would like a finer mix, run the spices through a spice mill or coffee grinder. Double or triple the batch to keep some on hand. 

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