Damn Fine Shrimp or Crawfish Etoufee'


Spices

2 tsp
salt
2 tsp
ground coriander
tsp
white pepper
tsp black pepper
1 tsp basil
1 tsp Thyme


Other Stuff

cup
chopped onions
cup
chopped celery
cup
finely sliced green onions
cup
corn or canola oil
1cup
all purpose flour
3 tbl
butter
2 lbs
peeled shrimp or crawfish tails (or any combination of the two)

cooked rice

Etoufee' is quintessential Cajun, it's not spicy, and it's one of the easiest Cajun dishes to make.  If you want to make your first Cajun dish that uses a roux this is the one to make.  Crawfish etoufee' is most famous, but shrimp etoufee' or a mixture of shrimp and crawfish is just as tasty.

Here's a few notes that make the difference between great etoufee' and bad etoufee'.  If you make this with crawfish tails use the crawfish fat, it makes the dish better.  I can not stress this enough, DO NOT use Chinese crawfish tails.  They have a horrible fishy taste that will ruin this dish.  Spend a couple extra bucks and get real crawfish tails from Louisiana.  If you are making this with shrimp, don't waste your money on big shrimp.  Big shrimp look great, but you end up with a big pot of etoufee' with just a few shrimp.  Use small shrimp and you get a shrimp in almost every spoonful.   

Mix the spices together in a small bowl and set them aside.  In a big pot (I use a big enameled cast iron dutch oven) make a light brown roux with the flour and oil then turn the burner off. The roux should be about the color of milk chocolate.  Watch the roux carefully as you make it, because it will continue to darken even after you turn the heat off, especially if you use a cast iron pot.  As soon as the roux has turned light brown, stir in the celery and onions. Keep stirring the roux/vegetable mixture for the next 5 minutes to soften the vegetables and to keep them from burning. While you are stirring, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a two quart pot. When the water has come to a boil, add the roux mixture to the water in small spoonfuls.  Make sure you break up each spoonful completely and stir it in before adding the next spoonful. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. (It is very important to break up each spoonful or the etoufee' will taste floury). Wipe out the big pot you used to make the roux and melt the butter over medium high heat, then add the shrimp or crawfish. Turn the heat up to high and cook this mixture, stirring constantly,  for about 2 minutes.  Now add the spices, and the mixture from the other pot.  Stir this well, then thin the etoufee' by adding 1 to 2 cups of water.  You will have to adjust the amount of water based on the color of you roux.  The darker a roux is the less it will thicken the etoufee'.  Your finished etoufee' should be like a thick stew, but should be easy to serve with a ladle.  Bring everything to a boil and turn the heat off.  Put a big spoonful of rice in a bowl, ladle the etoufee' over the rice and top everything with the green onions.  Enjoy!  This is heaven in a bowl.

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