Etouffée, meaning “smothered” in French, is a classic dish from N’Awlins that uses seafood and shellfish, usually crab, crawfish, or shrimp from the Gulf. We use Alaska crab and spot shrimp in ours but hold true to the traditional preparation with the one exception: our roux cooks for 5 minutes not 60, making this a relatively quick and easy weeknight meal.
- 1 bairdi crab cluster, crabmeat and shells reserved separately
- 1 pound spot shrimp, cleaned and deveined, shells and roe reserved
- 4 thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon chopped leaves
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño
- ¼ cup neutral vegetable oil
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, or to taste
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Steamed long grain rice for serving
- Hot sauce for serving
MAKE THE SEAFOOD STOCK
In a medium saucepan, combine the crab shells, shrimp shells, roe, thyme sprigs, and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until flavorful. Strain into a heatproof bowl and add enough water to make 3 cups of stock.
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MAKE THE ROUX AND COMBINE
In a medium bowl, combine the bell pepper, onion, celery, and jalapeño.
In a medium enameled cast iron Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat, combine the oil and flour. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is the color of peanut butter, 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to scorch the mixture.
Immediately stir in vegetable mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chopped thyme leaves, and Cajun seasoning.
COMBINE STOCK AND ROUX
Add the strained seafood stock, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the liquid is thickened and the vegetables are very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and cook just until pink and curled, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the crab just until warmed through and serve with rice and hot sauce on the side.
Pair it Up
Reach for Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, or Gruner Veltliner, versatile wines that will work well with Cajun spices. If beer is more your speed, pour a crisp pilsner or lager.
Level it Up
If you can't find Cajun spice blend in the grocery store, use 1 tablespoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and dried oregano.
Change it Up
You can use 2 Dungeness crab clusters in place of the bairdi. Using 1 1/2 cups each clam broth and water in place of the seafood stock will save time.
Level it Up
Brown rice is a more nutritious option than jasmine rice, though not traditional.
Know Your Cook
Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.