Apr 16, 2018

Crawfish Étouffée

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
This dish consists of a rich Cajun seafood stew made with crawfish.

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Do you call them crawfish, crayfish or crawdads? They are all the same thing, but it all depends on where in the United States you are living. My mom is from Vermont and calls them crawdads while my brother went to school in Alabama and calls them crawfish. I am going the “southern” route and calling them crawfish. This dish consists of a rich Cajun seafood stew made with crawfish. Étouffée comes from the French word “étouffer” which translates to “smothered”.

Crawfish Étouffée

cooked crawfish

What Makes Cajun Roux Different?

A roux is a mixture of fat, in this recipe I use butter, and flour. It’s used as the base of this Étouffée recipe and thickens the mixture easily.

Cajun roux differs from your typical roux bases used in soups. It is cooked longer to add deeper color and flavor to the dishes. The roux, combined with the paprika, cayenne and crawfish, gives this dish a deep orangey/ red color.

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Crawfish – I used a combination of frozen crawfish tails and some fresh ones leftover from a crawfish boil I had the day before for this crawfish etouffee recipe. It takes a lot of time and patience to peel the amount of crawfish needed for the recipe, but there is also a more convenient way to prepare crawfish for cooking. The frozen crawfish tails are available at specialty seafood shops and using them cuts out prep time and while they aren’t as fresh, it will do the trick.
  • Bell pepper – Bell peppers are sweet with mild flavor. They don’t have any heat but add a sweet flavor, especially when sautéed. The colors of bell pepper differ based on maturity – it comes down to the time of harvesting. Bell peppers are a backbone of Cajun cooking, especially paired with onion and celery – referred to as the “holy trinity”.
  • Seafood stock – Fish stock, also called seafood stock is made from simmering the shells of lobster, shrimp, crab shells or other fish bones with white wine and other aromatics. I often buy seafood stock though you can easily make your own.
crawfish etouffee recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

How to Make Crawfish Étouffée

  1. Make the roux. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over high heat, add the oil and heat through. Whisk the flour into the hot oil to make the roux. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to whisk until the roux becomes a deep brown color, about 10 minutes.
  2. Cook the vegetables. Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions caramelize, about 4 minutes. Add the celery, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic, cooking until the vegetables become soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato then stir in the thyme, paprika, cayenne and the shellfish stock, increasing the heat to medium.
  3. Simmer the étouffée. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.
  4. Assemble and serve. Add the crawfish tails and stir in the Worcestershire and hot sauce and cream. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Ladle the mixture into soup bowls and top with a scoop of rice. Garnish with green onions and parsley.
crawfish etouffee recipe from cooking with cocktail rings closeup

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • Substituting with shrimp. If you cannot find crawfish in your area – try making this étouffée recipe using shrimp instead. I recommend substituting the crawfish with large (31/40) size shrimp. They will still be larger than crawfish but the effect will be similar. You can even roughly chop them so they are more similar in size to crawfish.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Crawfish Étouffée

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups seafood stock
  • 2 pounds peeled cooked crawfish tails
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • teaspoons Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 4 cups cooked white rice, for serving
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Instructions:

  • Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over high heat, add the oil and heat through. Whisk the flour into the hot oil to make the roux. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to whisk until the roux becomes a deep brown color, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions caramelize, about 4 minutes. Add the celery, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic, cooking until the vegetables become soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato then stir in the thyme, paprika, cayenne and the shellfish stock, increasing the heat to medium.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the crawfish tails and stir in the Worcestershire and hot sauce and cream. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Ladle the mixture into soup bowls and top with a scoop of rice. Garnish with green onions and parsley.

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