I etouffe, you etouffee

On my last visit to New Orleans I had the yummiest etouffée at Deanie’s. I ordered a Crawfish Quartet: crawfish etouffée, crawfish au gratin, fried crawfish tails and crawfish dressing balls; I had planned on skipping the balls since  I was low-carbing. When the waiter placed the dish before me I was a bit taken back by the color. I have to apologize, I didn’t take a picture of that dish. It was lightly golden brown, not how I’ve seen etouffée for the most part.

But when I took the first bite, I was in HE.A.VEN! This thing was delicious beyond words. Creamy and smooth, bursting with seafood flavor and tomato-less. I was in love and regretting I didn’t order a double portion. I knew it would be one of the first dishes I would attempt to recreate when I got back home.

Once in Houston, I looked around for recipes that sounded promising, and became increasingly frustrated when they added tomatoes and other nonsense. So, I decided to wing it, I’ve watched Emeril make some happy, I can do it too!

I’ll have to make a few disclaimers. First, I used duck fat, because I made some yummy duck a few days before. You can use any fat you like, but I would avoid butter because it burns so easily. However, I’ve been told that animal fat is too unstable for roux–not that I had any problems with my duck fat. The other, is that I had some crab stock in the freezer, you can use any seafood or even chicken/vegetable stock. And lastly, I used both shrimp and crawfish, you can use just one of the two. No sweat, mmkay pumpkins? Here’s my rendition.

 Seafood Etouffée

4 tbsp duck fat or oil
1/4 cp flour
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cp celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 cp shrimp stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cp green onions, thinly sliced
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb crawfish tails and its butter, cooked
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp hot sauce (I used Crystal, but Tabasco works)
3 tbsp butter
Salt & ground white pepper to taste

Season the shrimp with a bit of salt & pepper and 1 crushed garlic. Set aside. In a large heavy-bottom skillet, heat the fat over medium high heat and the flour. Lower the temperature to medium heat and continue to cook the flour, stirring it often until it reaches the color of peanut butter. This will take about 5-7 minutes.

Add the onions, celery and bell pepper cook until the aromatics have soften, then add the garlic and green onions. Stir to avoid burning.

Slowly add the stock, stirring as you do. In goes the Worcestershire, hot sauce and white pepper. The base should be about the consistency of gravy, not too thick, not too thin. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add the crawfish meat with its butter, stir to coat. Finally add the shrimp and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp is pink.  Stir in the remaining  butter, and adjust the seasonings to taste.

Serve over white rice and eat your little heart out.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

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