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Creole Shrimp Étouffée

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Creole Shrimp Étouffée is a classic southern stew is full of tender shrimp, the “Holy Trinity” of veggies, and flavored with a decadent golden roux. This stew has a subtle heat thanks to seasoning, but served over rice is the ultimate in Louisiana comfort food!

Celebrate Louisiana and their food culture with this comforting stew. Simple ingredients are used to create a masterpiece thanks to taking some time to prepare them. To complete your Southern experience make sure you try out this New Orleans Gumbo, Shrimp Creole, and this Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp.

Creole shrimp étouffée over top rice in a bowl topped with scallions.

Shrimp Étouffée

Louisiana is an area of our country that is rich in history and that history shines in the foods that are made and enjoyed there! Due to being on the gulf coast, shrimp is a popular option as a protein when it comes to cooking. And the shrimp truly shine in this deeply flavorful stew broth.

Etouffee is a French word meaning “smothered” which refers to the protein being smothered in a sauce. Etouffee is a dish that can be found in both Cajun and Creole cooking that are both highlights of Louisiana cuisine. This particular recipe I’m sharing today is a creole style Shrimp Etouffee. It is a thick stew, loaded with tender shrimp and served over rice. 

How to Make Shrimp Étouffée:

  1. Prepare Shrimp: peel and devein the shrimp, plus remove the tails to make enjoying the meal easier. Cover and place the shrimp in the refrigerator until ready to add to the stew. 
  2. Make broth: this is an optional step. If making your own broth, save the shells from the shrimp and add to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Add in scraps from the celery, onion and bell pepper, a wedge of lemon, garlic cloves and water. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 45 mins to 1 hour. Strain and use the broth in the recipe. 
  3. If NOT making your own broth: a combination of chicken broth and clam juice gives a seafood style broth and uses store bought ingredients, this saves time if needed. Plus you can buy shrimp that has already been peeled, deveined and tails removed which saves time when prepping the recipe. 
  4. Lightly Brown Roux: the base of the étouffée sauce is made by lightly browning a combination of flour with butter or other fat, like oil. The longer the roux cooks, the darker it becomes. For our étouffée we want a nice golden roux. This is what gives a thick gravy like texture to the sauce, and gives a depth of flavor to the stew. Make sure you stay close and stir this while it cooks, the roux can burn very easily.
  5. Add “Holy Trinity”: this is a phrase that describes the classic combination of onion, celery and bell pepper that is a staple in most cajun and creole cooking. Let these veggies cook in the roux until softened. 
  6. Add broth and simmer: add the broth to the veggies and roux and mix together, add additional seasonings. Bring to a low simmer and let this cook for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Cook Shrimp: the shrimp can be cooked in a skillet with some creole seasoning and served on top of the finished dish. OR you can add the shrimp to the stew and let them cook in the stew for about 10 minutes. This is my preferred method. 

Does Étouffée Have Tomato? 

This is purely preference. Creole cooking typically does have a tomato based sauce. Cajun cooking on the other hand does not. If you are not sure which style you would prefer, add all of the ingredients for the sauce minus the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, taste and decide if you want tomato to be added. 

What is the Difference Between Étouffée and Gumbo? 

Etouffee is a thicker stew since we are only cooking our roux to a nice golden color. Gumbo involves cooking the roux to a deep brown coloring, which also affects the thickening power of the roux. 

Gumbo also will traditionally have more than one protein included, shrimp and sausage or some other type of meat. 

Creole shrimp étouffée in a large pot being stirred with a wooden spoon.

More Southern Recipes to Enjoy: 



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