Sunday, May 17, 2015

Shrimp Étouffée

This Louisiana classic is often made with crawfish, but almost any shellfish will do. Since crawdads aren't exactly common here in SoCal, I like to use shrimp instead.

2 lbs. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined (reserve shells if making shrimp stock)

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour

1 onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried basil leaves or oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. paprika

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes

3 bay leaves
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Crystal hot sauce

6 cups water
3 tbsp. "Better than Bouillon" lobster base*

3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup flour

Sliced scallions for garnish
Steamed white rice

*If you can't find this lobster base, make a shrimp stock by combining all the shrimp shells in this recipe with 1 cup each of coarsely chopped onion, carrot and celery, 1 bay leaf, 1 tbsp. black peppercorns, 2 tsp. salt and 3 quarts of water in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, and cook about 45 minutes. Strain and set aside. 

1. Heat 3/4 cup oil in a large stock pot (I like to use a cast iron Dutch oven) until hot. Sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for about 5-7 minutes until the roux has turned a peanut butter color. Do not over-brown. 

2. In the meantime, combine all the seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Add the diced onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and 2 tsp. salt; reduce heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Add the tomatoes and 1 tbsp. of the seasoning mix. Cook 2-3 minutes then add 4 cups of the seafood stock (add more, as needed, up to 6 cups). Stir in the bay leaves, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, Worcestershire sauce and Crystal hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.

5. Season the shrimp with 1 tbsp. of the seasoning mix. Add to the sauce and cook 5-7 minutes until the shrimp are just cooked through. 

6. Serve the étouffée over hot rice and garnish with sliced scallion.

Seasonings: white pepper, ground oregano, garlic powder, paprika, granulated garlic, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.

The "trinity:" onion, bell pepper, and celery, along with minced garlic. "Better than Bouillon" makes a great lobster base: mix 3 tbsp. of the base with 6 cups of water to make the stock (or substitute with 6 cups of shrimp stock). 

Make the roux and stir until it turns a peanut butter color. 

Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic and 2 tsp. salt.

Reduce heat to medium and cook the veggies about 10 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes, 3 bay leaves, fresh thyme, parsley, 1 tbsp. of the seasoning blend, and 4 or more cups of the seafood stock. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and a dash of Crystal hot sauce, according to your taste. Cook until thickened.

Season the shrimp with 1 tbsp. of the seasoning mix. 

Add the shrimp to the sauce. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until the shrimp are just barely cooked through. 

Serve with rice and garnish with scallions. 

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