Here’s a real Louisiana classic, y’all. For those uninitiated souls, crawfish étouffée (pronounced ay-too-fay) is like a really thick seafood stew served over white rice. Étouffée means “smothered,” so imagine those little crawfish tails smothered in what the Cajuns call the holy trinity — onions, celery and bell pepper — cooked down in a delicious, buttery sauce. You can make étouffée with shrimp but this recipe uses crawfish.
If you’ve never had crawfish, they taste somewhere between shrimp and crab, mild but sweet and very succulent. A traditional Cajun étouffée has no tomatoes. In this recipe, however, there is a slight Creole influence and thus a cup of chopped tomatoes is added to give the dish a little bit of acid to balance out the flavors.
Frozen crawfish tails are available at some seafood counters or in specialty supermarkets. If you can’t find any, you can always use shrimp in this recipe.
If you can’t find seafood stock, use chicken stock instead.
Start with a Dutch oven
In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour. Stir constantly until the roux turns the color of light brown sugar.
Add in the onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and creole seasoning. Stir well and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire sauce, salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the crawfish tails and the lemon juice and cook for 3 more minutes.
Taste and add any hot sauce or more salt if desired.
Take the étouffée off of the heat and stir in the parsley and the green onions.
Serve immediately over hot rice. Make sure there is hot sauce on the table and a bowl of extra rice. A nice loaf of crusty French bread with a little butter would be a perfect addition, as well.
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