Monday, January 20, 2014

Shrimp Etouffee – Desperate Times Call for Delicious Measures

I won’t go into the sordid details of how I came into possession of substandard shrimp, but it did afford me the opportunity to demo a few tips in this shrimp etouffee video, just in case you ever find yourself in the same boat. 

I have absolutely no problem with frozen shrimp, which is a good thing, since that’s the only kind you can buy; but when making recipes like this, I prefer a larger size, and definitely with shells on.

Making a rich shrimp stock from the sautéed shells is one of the secrets to a great etouffee, but besides loss of flavor, I find smaller, already-peeled shrimp retain much more water, which leaks out when cooked; thinning and weakening every sauce in their wake.

A little sear can release a lot of this excess liquid, which can then be reduced in the sauce. This also makes the final moments of the dish pretty easy, as these small shrimp only take a few minutes to cook through. 

Of course, if you do buy some nice 16-20’s (jumbo-sized), go ahead and make the stock (see technique here), and give the shrimp a nice pan-sear first before finishing the recipe as shown. With Mardi Gras coming up soon, you have the perfect excuse to give this delicious recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

Makes 4 large portions:

Spice Blend (everything is “to taste”):
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp paprika

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 pounds peeled and deveined raw shrimp, seasoned with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp of the spice blend
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup diced onions
1/3 cup celery, sliced thin
1/3 cup diced green pepper, sweet or hot
remaining spice blend
2 generous tbsp flour
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock (including shrimp juices added in)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
hot sauce to taste
salt to taste
1/4 cup sliced green onions
4 portions cooked white rice


blogagog said...

Good Lord. I love you like a brother who is much better at cooking than me chef, but this is a travesty.

Tomatoes in etouffee? What the hell? There's no crying in baseball, and there's no tomatoes in etouffee! That's yankee crap. I'm a transplant from NJ down here and even I know that.

Heh. Seriously, what you made is more like shrimp creole ('member I said that last post?). I invite you to come to our strange state and taste the difference. Heck, it might even convert you from saying "you guys" to saying "y'all".

mamakawama said...

@blogagog well, you can find the phrase sometime[sic] tomatoes are added here. I guess it's another one of those regional quibbles... like beans in chile con carne.

SpeedRacer105 said...

From a Louisiana native: Even though I wouldn't call this a true etouffee, I'll recommend that it's important to cook your rice in the same stock. It makes a world of difference to the taste.

Unknown said...

Creole étouffées DO use tomatoes, cajun étouffées do not.

philogaia said...

Being a westerner I cannot comment in any fashion on tomatoes in the dish. But for me this is a gold mine to figure out how to use the little watery shrimp! Wish I'd thought of that. Usually if I use IQF seafood I stick to squid as it holds up better. If I don't have the time to peel my shrimp I don't use it.

mekman said...

YUM! can I use all caps for that?

Roya said...

I've never left a comment here but I had to say this one. I made this tonight for dinner and it was really really good.

Nathan said...

My first time commenting here, and just wanted to say I made a variation of this recipe and it was awesome! I used sausage instead of shrimp, and ran out of chicken stock so I had to make up the difference with veggie stock. I also used pablano peppers for some extra kick.

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Greetings Chef! My finicky lady-friend done tolds me 'dat I done cooked up a mighty-fine shrimp etuffee or whatever it is 'dat one mights call it when 'ya adds in sum' tomators. Anywho's 'dis here dish couldn't have been any easier to make and I gots you to thank. So thanks! You're 'da best!

John said...

Definitely feel bad for people who live on the coast and can't get raw fresh shrimp with the heads still on for stock purposes. :D

Bob gaat feeder vissen said...

I have just tried to make this recipe, I dont know how well I did, but it was supertasty.
Despite of me screwing up the roux by adding the flour after the stock. Some serious whisking some more broth. More serious whisking and it was saved. I am gonna try this again soon but in the correct order.
Thanks for the recipe.

Kind regards,


Bill said...

So if I use shrimp with shells and make a stock, would I eliminate the chicken broth completely? Thanks Chef John. And I really dig your site! Bill

Chef John said...

Yes you can use that instead of the chicken broth or make shrimp stock with the broth. Thanks!

Preston said...

Chef!! This is absolutely the best shrimp recipe i have ever tasted!!! I made this and the shrimp stock was such a good idea! Pure genius!! My family loved this! I am only 12 but have started doing your recipes and havent stopped! Thanks so much!

Chef John said...

Great job!

the world may never know. said...

If I don't have white pepper can I just increase the amount of black pepper? If so, by how much?

Chef John said...

Sure, but don't go by amounts! Season "to taste" Enjoy!

James said...

It's Mardi Gras (2016) and I wanted to do something in keeping with "Laissez les bons temps rouler" so I suggested to my wife a number of dishes (Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie, File Gumbo...) for dinner, which were immediately shot down as too spicy. After studying my larder, I found that I had all the ingredients for this dish and (following your recipe) proceeded to make it.

This Shrimp Etouffee over Jasmine Rice was the hit of the evening. Not too spicy, not too bland, just right for the whole family. My hat's off to you for another win! "Let the good times roll".

Unknown said...

People just don't get it!! You can make jambalaya gumbo and so on, that is not to spicy for your taste!!! Just reduce the pepper!!! I am from Louisiana but I live in Georgia and my wife doesn't do hot!!! I cook a lot of cajun food and just not season it up like I like it till it gets in my bowl!!!

Unknown said...

Chef John - I'm from Mississippi and have close ties to Louisiana, and know from experience that you do indeed use some tomato product in etoufees - usually one or two vine-ripe tomatoes (although canned tomato can be substituted if fresh tomatoes are out of season). It's actually gumbos that usually don't use tomatoes! And also, gumbos usually don't use okra - that's a not-LA thing (although I sometimes use both tomatoes and okra in my gumbos). Traditionally, etoufees are slowly cooked for several hours on low heat in a light-colored roux and the trinity with the shrimp being added toward the end, so I look forward to trying this much quicker version!

Amy said...

This was amazing! We all loved it, including my 9 and 12 year old sons. Thanks, Chef John, for hitting it out of the park again!!

MKL said...

So, my dash of worshestershire did not look at all like a llama. More like a neuron. Think it’ll still be okay?