foods and cuisines

Étouffée | A taste of Louisiana in a rich and flavorful stew


Étouffée or etouffee is a dish found in both Cajun and Creole cuisine typically served with shellfish over rice. The dish employs a technique known as smothering, a popular method of cooking in the Cajun and Creole areas of southwest Louisiana. Étouffée is most popular in New Orleans and in the Acadiana region of the southernmost half of Louisiana as well as the coastal counties of Mississippi, Alabama, northern Florida, and eastern Texas.

Type: Stew
Course:  Main
Place of origin: United States
Region or state: Louisiana
Main ingredients: Shellfish, rice

Description of Étouffée

Étouffée is a dish of shellfish, simmered in a sauce made from a light or blond roux, served over rice. It is most commonly made with shellfish, such as crab or shrimp. The most popular version of the dish is made with crawfish. Depending on who is making it and where it is being made it is flavored with either Creole or Cajun seasonings. Although Creole and Cajun cuisines are distinct, there are many similarities.

In the case of the Creole version of crawfish étouffée, it is made with a blond or brown roux and sometimes tomatoes are added. A blond roux is one that is cooked, stirring constantly, for approximately 5 minutes to remove the “raw” flavor of the flour and to add a slightly “nutty” flavor, while a brown roux is cooked longer (30 to 35 minutes) in order to deepen the color and flavor.

Étouffée Ingredients

Spice Blend:

  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken stock, or as needed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup diced onion
  • ⅓ cup diced green bell pepper
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash hot sauce, or more to taste
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • cayenne pepper for garnish
  • 2 cups cooked rice, or to taste

How to make Étouffée

  1. For the spice blend: Whisk paprika, thyme, oregano, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, and black pepper together in a small bowl.
  2. For the étouffée: Drain shrimp in a colander for at least 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels and dry shrimp for about 3 minutes. Remove paper towels from the bowl. Season shrimp with salt and 1 teaspoon spice blend; toss to coat.
  3. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat until oil is smoking. Cook shrimp in hot oil without stirring for 1 minute; stir, and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl. Let stand until juice collects in the bowl. Strain shrimp juices into chicken stock to total 2 cups, adding more chicken stock if necessary. Set aside.
  5. Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat until butter begins to turn tan at the edges. Sauté onion, bell pepper, and celery in hot butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining spice blend.
  6. Sprinkle flour into vegetable mixture and sauté until combined, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; cook until tomato juices begin to brown on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock mixture, stirring until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and reduced to a gravy consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire and hot sauce. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Stir shrimp into étouffée sauce; let simmer until shrimp are cooked all the way through and no longer translucent, about 1 minute.
  8. Garnish with green onions and a dusting of cayenne pepper. Pour over rice in large, shallow bowls
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