Saturday, April 4, 2015

Crab and Shrimp Étouffée

Étouffée: Pronounced (ay-too-fay) is a French word that translates in English to "smothered" and you'll love how this rich blend of cajun spices, shrimp and crab smothers your favorite white rice and pleases your taste buds.  You'll find this dish on every menu in New Orleans and I've been dying to try to make it ever since I returned from a visit there a few weeks ago. I read several recipes and pulled all the things I liked from each into this one here.  You could easily adjust this to meet your personal spice-o-meter and use any combination of shrimp, crab or the more common New Orleans version, crawfish. Since crawfish isn't too easy to find in my Northwest neck of the woods (or ocean), I opted for crab and shrimp.

5 T butter
6 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 large onion, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
1 green pepper, diced with seeds and veins removed
2 T flour
3 cups chicken or seafood broth
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup red wine
1 to 3 T cajun spice mix (such as Emeril's or Old Bay)
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 lbs raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 oz lump crab meat
4 cups cooked white rice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in large stock pot. Add garlic and sauté. 

Known as the "trifecta" of cajun cooking, combine the onion, celery and green pepper and add to the garlic and butter.  Continue sautéeing until onion becomes translucent.

Push vegetable mixture aside in the pot and add additional 3 T butter to cleared area of the pot.  Once melted, add flour to the butter and mix together until a thick paste begins to develop. 

Add a little bit of the chicken broth to the butter and flour paste, mixing together well to avoid any lumps forming. Add up to 2 cups of the broth, mixing together the vegetables into a thick serve. Add tomato sauce, wine, cajun spice blend (to taste) and thyme.  

Bring to a boil.  The mixture should start to thicken. Continue cooking and add as much of the remaining broth as needed. You want the mixture to stay thick, but not so thick that any lumps begin to form. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes to allow the flavors to fully blend together. 

Meanwhile, begin cooking the rice.

When rice is almost done, add the raw shrimp and the crab to the broth mixture. Cook just until shrimp is pink. 

Scoop rice into a mold such as a round tea cup or a pyrex custard cup. Invert cup of rice into a large bowl. 

Pour étouffée over rice and garnish with fresh parsley.

Dietary considerations:
Gluten free: substitute with almond flour or cornstarch instead of wheat flour
Dairy free: substitute butter with Earth Balance Vegan Butter

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