Skip to Content

Shrimp Etouffee

Shrimp Etouffee – Shrimp stews in a great-tasting sauce flavored by a gluten-free roux, the “holy trinity” of vegetables, shrimp stock, and it’s spiced to perfection with homemade Cajun seasoning to make our Shrimp Étouffée. Pair this classic comfort meal with rice, red beans and rice, or tasty cornbread to make it a complete meal.

Shrimp étouffée in a serving dish.

WHAT IS ÉTOUFFÉE?

Étouffée is an integral part of the food history in the American South. There is a good chance that when you think about Cajun and Creole cuisine, meals like gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, beignets, and shrimp étouffée come to mind, and for a good reason! 

Étouffée is a French word that means ‘to smother,’ a common cooking technique in the South. This way of cooking is very similar to a fricassee. If you haven’t made anything like this, begin with our Jerk Chicken Fricassee. Both techniques involve preparing a rich, flavorful sauce for your meat or protein; our shrimp cooks in a sauce made with the holy trinity of vegetables, shrimp stock, and a simple, gluten-free roux.

WHAT IS A ROUX?

Roux is the basis for Cajun meals like gumbo and étouffée. A classic roux contains a few simple ingredients and a whole lot of whisking! They most often include equal parts fat and flour cooked to varying degrees depending on the dish you’re preparing. The three main rouxs are white, blonde, and dark brown. We prepare a gluten-free roux with cornstarch to make this recipe. While it’s faster to use cornstarch as a thickener for étouffée, it doesn’t develop the same flavor as a flour roux. For this reason, I include extra herbs and spices- so you don’t miss out on anything.

HOW TO MAKE A 15-MINUTE BLONDE ROUX

Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Flour

Instructions:

  1. Start with a cold pan and warm butter over medium heat until it bubbles.
  2. Add flour and whisk to combine.
  3. Whisk constantly to prevent burning; this is especially important once the paste changes color. If you notice any color spotting, turn down the heat and continue whisking.
  4. Watch the roux and pay attention to the color; it may not take 15 minutes or longer. It all depends on the stove you’re using.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Roux: I deviate from traditional roux by making a gluten-free version with butter and cornstarch. I include instructions for preparing a flour roux in the section above.
  •  Vegetables: It’s hard to depart from tried and true; we use onions, celery, green bell peppers, and garlic.
  •  Cajun Seasoning: I prefer to use the Cajun seasoning included in this recipe so you can cater the spices to your taste. If you purchase seasoning from the store, use Slap Ya Mama.
  •  Herbs: Bay leaves and fresh thyme bring this shrimp dish to the next level. 
  •  Shrimp Stock: You can purchase shrimp or seafood stock, but why not use whole shrimp and make your own? Ours takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, and all you need is shrimp shells, water, and salt. Homemade shrimp stock sets the stage for the dish, but use vegetable, seafood, or chicken stock if you’re in a pinch.
  •  Shrimp: I use tail-on, jumbo shrimp, but use what you have. Be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Try crawfish, alligator, or chicken thighs instead of shrimp for a little variation.

HOW TO MAKE SHRIMP ÉTOUFFÉE

For the Shrimp Broth:

Warm oil in a saucepan over medium heat; add the reserved shrimp shells and saute for 3 minutes.

Add water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the shells and discard them. Set the broth aside.

For the Étouffée:

Gather the ingredients for the Cajun seasoning in a small bowl and set it aside.

Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Then, add the cornstarch. Whisk until it begins to foam and a roux forms, about 3 minutes.

Add the onion, celery, green bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until vegetables soften, for about 5-7 minutes.

Next, add the Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs. Cook until aromatic.

Stir in the reserved shrimp broth and simmer for 30 minutes over medium heat.

The roux boiling in pan on the stove.

Add the shrimp to the broth and cook for 2-3 minutes. Alter the cooking time based on the size of the shrimp you use, careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Return the shrimp to the seasoned roux.

Season with salt and serve with rice.

COOKING TIPS

  • Homemade Vs. Store-Bought Shrimp: Boil shrimp shells in water for a quick homemade shrimp broth or purchase one from the store. If you go the store-bought route, skip to the For the Étouffée section. 
  • Prepare the rich and velvety sauce beforehand for the shrimp to simmer or be smothered in as the name etouffee implies.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love this recipe, try one of our other seafood favorites!  

Shrimp étouffée in a serving dish.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS

  • FRIDGE – It’s a well known fact that étouffée tastes even better the next day; store leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  • FREEZER – Allow the dish to cool, then add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Shrimp étouffée freezes for 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • REHEAT –  Warm leftovers on the stovetop, and enjoy!
  • REPURPOSE– Use leftover shrimp to make an easy shrimp and grits.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is shrimp étouffée made of?

Traditional Cajun étouffée begins with either a blonde or brown roux (depending on who prepares it) to make a sauce consisting of the “holy trinity” or onion, celery, and green bell peppers that cook down until it is dark and flavorful. Then, smother the shrimp or protein of choice in the deliciously slow-cooked sauce to finish the meal.

What’s the difference between shrimp Creole and étouffée?

As the name implies, shrimp Creole is a Creole dish that relies heavily on tomatoes to build flavor for the sauce; Creole étouffée is much thinner and has a more stew-like consistency.

The Cajun version of shrimp étouffée does not include tomatoes; instead, the main ingredients are roux, onions, celery, and green bell peppers; the result is a highly concentrated and flavorful gravy to “smother” the shrimp.

Does étouffée have tomatoes?

To this, I would say- it depends on who you ask. As I mentioned, the difference between Cajun and Creole étouffée is the inclusion of tomatoes or the lack thereof.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:

Shrimp étouffée in a serving dish.

Shrimp Etouffee

Tressa Jamil
Our shrimp étouffée cooks in a delicious roux, shrimp stock, and it is spiced to perfection with a homemade Cajun seasoning.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Cajun
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 208 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the Shrimp Broth:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound shrimp shells, remove the tails from the shrimp
  • 3 cups water
  • kosher salt, to taste

For the Cajun Seasoning:

  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, dried
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

For the Étouffée:

  • 1 stick butter
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small diced
  • 4 stalk celery, small diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, small diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme, fresh
  • 3 cups homemade shrimp broth
  • 2 pounds shrimp, jumbo, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • kosher salt, to taste

Instructions
 

For the Shrimp Broth:

  • Warm oil in a saucepan over medium heat; add the reserved shrimp shells and saute for 3 minutes.
  • Add water and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp tails and discard them. Set the broth aside.

For the Étouffée:

  • Gather the ingredients for the Cajun seasoning in a small bowl and set it aside.
  • Melt butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Then, add cornstarch. Whisk until it begins to foam and a roux forms, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the onion, celery, green bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until vegetables soften, for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Next, add the Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs. Cook until aromatic.
  • Stir in the reserved shrimp broth and simmer for 30 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add the shrimp to the broth and cook for 3-5 minutes. Alter the cooking time based on the size of the shrimp you use, careful not to overcook the shrimp.
  • Season with salt and serve with rice.

Notes

Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 ServingsCalories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 25gFat: 4gSodium: 3310mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2g
Keyword shrimp etouffee
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Shariq

Sunday 16th of October 2022

My mouth waters whenever I think of this recipe again. This is a very authentic and classic etouffee recipe for those who don't want to make the trip to Louisiana. We love preparing this recipe in cooler months.