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Crawfish étouffée pairs juicy, sweet crawfish with a tasty roux-based gravy. Bell peppers, celery and onion add flavor, as well as spicy seasonings, herbs and lashings of garlic. This Cajun dish is delicious served over fluffy white rice.
The word étouffée is French for suffocated or smothered. In a food context, it refers to how the rich, sweet gravy smothers the juicy crawfish tail meat. You can tweak the recipe if you like. Seafood or even homemade crawfish stock can be used in place of the chicken stock. You can omit the garlic if you aren’t a fan. Also, throwing in a can of chopped tomatoes transforms this Cajun dish into more of a Creole one.
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound cooked crawfish tail meat
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 chopped bell pepper
- 1 chopped celery stalk
- 1 chopped yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 4 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Cooked rice to serve
- Hot sauce chili flakes and chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)
- Melt the butter in a large pot then stir in the flour to create a roux.
- Keep cooking and stirring for a few minutes until the roux is copper in color (make sure it doesn’t burn!)
- Next add the peppers, celery, garlic, and onion, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add in the Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, and cayenne if using.
- Add the stock, turn the heat down and gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the crawfish tail meat and cook for a minute to warm it through.
- Stir in the parsley.
- Serve over cooked rice with your choice of garnishes.
How to Make a Roux
Making a roux isn’t hard at all. After melting butter you need to mix in the same amount of flour and keep cooking until the mixture is amber/copper in color.
If you haven’t made one before, bear in mind you need to stick with a low/medium heat, since burning the roux isn’t the aim here. If it does burn you’ll need to toss it out and try again. A roux adds density and creaminess to a dish and also helps bind the gravy ingredients together.
- If you’re making this with raw crawfish, you can cook the tails with the celery mixture then proceed with the recipe. They will cook through during simmering.
- Adjust the amount of cayenne to change the heat level. You can also add a couple of jalapeños when you add the bell pepper if you want to spice things up further.
- Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator and can be reheated gently in a pan on the stove.
- This classic favorite from Louisiana is sweet, spicy and totally delicious way to eat crawfish. Although fish or shrimp would also work if you can’t find crawfish.