Gumbo and etouffee are Cajun/Creole classics. They are both foods you will find everyday, on every part of the bayous of Louisiana or Southeastern Texas. But what’s the difference between the two? An etouffee is thicker stew, usually made with shrimp or crayfish, and is made with a roux, or a cooked flour and fat concoction, that is used as a thickener. Traditionally butter is used, but you can also use olive oil or cooking oil too. Usually the roux is equal parts fat to flour. The longer you cook the roux, the darker and thicker it becomes. A darker roux will also have a more nutty flavor than a lighter roux too. But be careful NOT to overcook your roux. An overcooked roux will make everything taste very bitter and will ruin your dish. Gumbo is usually a thinner stew and has a more soupy consistency.
The word etouffee is a French word that means smothered. An etouffee is a sort of stew that typically consists of a roux, the Holy Trinity (onion, celery, and bell pepper), some garlic, hot sauce, and either shrimp, crawfish, or chicken. Because I like things with a kick, I usually make my Holy Trinity the Holy Four by adding jalapenos as well.
We had some shrimp down as our latest in the rotation que, and I just felt like something with a Creole flair to it. So I made a shrimp and Andouille etouffee. I hadn’t done that in quite awhile and it just felt like it was time.
Shrimp and Andouille Etouffee
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 onion, diced medium
1 green bell pepper, diced medium
1/2 cup celery or about 2-3 stalks, diced medium
1 heaping TBSP garlic
1-2 jalapenos, diced fine
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1 cup tomato sauce or cocktail sauce
salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 lb Andouille sausage, sliced
1 1/2- 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
fresh chopped parsley for topping
2 cups cooked white rice
Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy pot and get it very hot. Add the oil and flour and stir constantly until it is all blended together and is a creamy, golden sauce. It should look like golden peanut butter. This will take about 15-25 minutes.
Add your Holy Trinity, or as I call it, the Holy Four, or the onions, garlic, bell peppers, celery and jalapenos, as well as the shrimp and the sausage and stir constantly until it is all cooked, for about 15 minutes.
Once the shrimp are completely cooked, remove them from the heat and set aside.
Mix the tomatoes and tomato sauce together and add to the vegetable mixture. I added some cocktail sauce instead of tomato sauce, for a little extra zip.
Combine well, then add the broth, seasonings and bay leaves. Mix everything together thoroughly and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and continue to cook for an additional 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Re-add the shrimp to the mix and cook for an additional 10 or so minutes.
Serve over cooked rice and top with parsley. Serve it with some warmed bread or biscuits. For wines, you can go either with a white or a light red. I chose a citrusy chardonnay to compliment the shrimp and the spices, but a light red would pair nicely too. You do NOT want a heavy or full-bodied red at all, or you will loose the flavors of the dish.
Laissez le bontemps roulez! If you like Cajun and/or Creole food, I GAR-UN-TEE you’re going to love this dish. It is a classic on the Southern bayous.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.