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Shrimp Etouffee

Our shrimp etouffee cooks in a delicious gluten-free roux and the holy trinity of vegetables; it’s spiced to perfection with homemade Cajun seasoning. Pair with rice, red beans and rice, or tasty cornbread to serve

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! It’s classic comfort food.

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 that before, start 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 and a simple gluten-free roux.

WHAT IS A ROUX

A classic roux comes together with a few simple ingredients and a whole lot of whisking. Roux’s most often include equal parts fat and flour, and they cook to varying degrees depending on the dish you’re preparing. The three main rouxs are white, blonde, and dark brown. We prepare a naturally gluten-free roux made with cornstarch in this recipe. While it’s faster to use cornstarch to thicken the étouffée, it doesn’t develop the same flavor as a flour roux. For this reason, I add extra herbs and spices to counteract to make sure 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 the 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 it can take longer. It all depends on the stove you’re using.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Roux: I deviate from traditional roux, making a gluten-free version with butter and cornstarch. I include the instructions for preparing a flour roux in the section above.
  • Vegetables: It’s hard to depart from the tried and true on this one; 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 preference. 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 Broth: You can purchase a store-bought shrimp broth, but why not use whole shrimp and make your own? The broth in this recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, and all you need is shrimp shells, water, and salt. If you’re in a pinch, use vegetable or chicken stock.
  • Shrimp: I use tail-on, jumbo shrimp, but use what you have. Be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. For a little variation, try crawfish or chicken thighs instead of shrimp.

HOW TO MAKE THIS SHRIMP ETOUFFEE  

For the Shrimp Broth:

SAUTE– Warm oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the reserved shrimp shells and allow them to saute for about 3 minutes.

SIMMER– Add water and simmer for 5 minutes.

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

For the Etouffee:

MIX– In a small bowl, gather the ingredients for the Cajun seasoning. Set aside.

BUILD THE ROUX- In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Then, add the corn starch. Whisk until it begins to foam and a roux forms, about 3 minutes.

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

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

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

COMBINE– 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.

SERVE– Season with salt and serve with rice.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love this recipe, we hope you will try one of our other seafood-centered meals!  

SERVING SUGGESTIONS 

  • Rice
  • Corn Bread
  • Hush Puppies
  • Dirty Rice
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Collard Greens
  • Fresh Bread
  • Jambalaya
  • Potato Salad
  • Red Beans and Rice
  • Side Salad
  • Corn Casserole
  • Fried Okra

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Believe it or not! Leftover étouffée is even better tasting; store leftovers in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.
  • FREEZE – You sure can. First, allow the dish to cool completely, then add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. It will freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • REHEAT –  To serve, warm it on the stovetop, and enjoy!
  • REPURPOSE– Use leftover shrimp to make an easy shrimp and grits or put them in a taco.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is shrimp étouffée made of?

Traditional étouffée consists of shrimp, the “holy trinity” (onion, celery, and green bell pepper), and a blonde or brown roux.

What’s the difference between shrimp Creole and étouffée?

As its name implies, shrimp Creole is a Creole dish that relies heavily on tomatoes to build the flavor; it’s much thinner and has a 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.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY: 

Shrimp Etouffee

Tressa Jamil
Our shrimp etouffee cooks in a delicious roux and is spiced to perfection with a homemade Cajun seasoning. Serve it with rice, red beans and rice, or tasty cornbread.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Cajun
Servings 4 people

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 sauce pan over medium heat. Add the reserved shrimp shells and allow them to saute for about 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:

  • In a small bowl, gather the ingredients for the Cajun seasoning. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Then, add the corn starch. 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, 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

  • 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. 
 
  • 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.
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!
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