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Guest Post: Shrimp Etouffée by Amanda Areias of Give Me Flour (Mardi Gras Edition)

I’ve been a huge fan of Amanda’s beautiful site, give me flour, for some time now. Her writing makes me want to travel to her homeland of Brazil, which she reminisces about often. And her photography, well, it speaks for itself. From gorgeous desserts to breads and stews, her photos capture the magic of food, cooking, travel, and memory. I’m so thrilled to have Amanda stop by Turntable Kitchen today to share her recipe for Shrimp Etouffée with you all. Just in time for Mardi Gras! Thanks so much, Amanda! ~Kasey

My first Christmas gift in the US territory was snow, lots and lots of snow. My second one was Shrimp Etouffée.

It was December 2009 and after a year and a few months living in the cold, gray and mysterious Chicago, we realized it was time to hit the road, to explore new horizons. I don’t remember exactly what lead us to New Orleans, all I know is at that time heading south sounded the best option for us “novice snow drivers.”

And so we left, heart full of expectation, head loaded of preconceptions and in no hurry at all. Our first meal was a crispy fried chicken, farm kitchen style, in some place in Missouri followed by two more state border crossings and our first night in our first planned destination, Memphis. You know, “home of the blues, birth of rock and roll.” We couldn’t avoid it.

And we acted as tourists are supposed to, buying all the ideas they were selling to us — a duck parade, the king’s house and its crazy luxuries, the nowadays touristic blue clubs and restaurants on Bale Street, the reconstitution of a crime at Lorraine Motel, the fantastic ribs at Rendezvous. So far, everything was meeting our expectations.

Things changed when we got to New Orleans a couple days later, though. No, that was not the America we knew anymore. It seemed we had driven much more than a thousand miles. We were transported to a much farther place, like a grandma’s sister’s house or some other distant relative’s home. The architecture of the houses, the colors on the walls, the omnipresent spirit of Mardi Gras were just a few of the elements we discovered we had in common.

New Orleans’ kitchen was really a surprise. My knowledge about it was limited to a small cookbook a friend gave me a decade ago. At the time, I was still living in Brazil. And a book can’t give you the dimension of any cuisine, its flavors or perfumes.

I don’t think, for instance, one can find a plate of rice and beans in any other place like you do in New Orleans. And then there were the beignets, the po’ boys, gumbos, jambalayas, alligator sausages, muffulettas, and the magnificent shrimp etouffée.

It was December 25 of 2009, the day I ate my first etouffée. And I remember it as clearly as I had just finished my bowl: perfectly cooked shrimp in an indulgent, vibrant orange creamy sauce handling all layers of flavors one dish can possibly handle. There is no better way to bring carnival to your table.

I came back and immediately started to look for a good recipe. A few weeks later, my English teacher came with a local book published by the Louisiana Office of Tourism called Season the day with Louisiana’s fairs and festivals, a collection of local recipes given by people from different parts of the state. It has probably a handful of different recipes of shrimp etouffée and I used them as reference to create my own, with lots of garlic of course.

The major thing you have to have in mind is ettoufée requires not a lot of work but a bit of time. But it is worth each minute you spend building your stock and thickening your base, I guarantee.

Start by buying raw shrimp that has been already cleaned and de-veined but is still unshelled. The shells are the most important ingredient in our stock.

Shrimp Stock

½ onion, about ½ cup, chopped
1 carrot, about ½ cup roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, about ½ cup, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs parsley
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ pound of raw shrimp in their shells (shells for stock and shrimp for the final dish)

Peel shrimp by holding the tail and lifting the shell upwards and away from the body. Reserve the shells. Put shrimp in a bowl, season with 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp olive oil, a finely chopped garlic clove, a pinch of freshly ground pepper and set it on the fridge.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, sauté shrimp shell until it turns pink. Add tomato paste and, stirring constantly, cook for one more minute. Add onions, carrot and celery. Pour in 4 cups (about 1liter) of water. Add bay leave, parsley and cook for half an hour to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients for the ettouffée.

Shrimp Etouffée

1 small onion (1 cup), finely chopped
½ green bell pepper (1/2 cup), finely chopped
½  stack celery (1/2 cup), finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ stick butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
1l shrimp stock
1 tsp smoked paprika
Black pepper, salt,
Green onion, chopped
Parsley, chopped

In a heavy skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook over moderate heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste and stir well. At this point, everything will come together and look like a thick batter. Add shrimp stock, a bit at a time, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring a few times, until mixture is thick and shiny. Stir in smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Cook for extra 5 minutes.

You can make everything in advance up to this point. In fact, from all I have learned and tasted, it is even better if you prepare your base on the day before to intensify the flavors. It is not mandatory tough, please, don’t feel pressured here.

The last step is to add pre seasoned shrimp in hot etouffée and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until they curl and turn pink. Just keep an eye on it; you don’t want you shrimp to be overcooked.

Turn off the heat, stir in parsley and green onion and serve over cooked rice. Enjoy!

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Posted by Amanda Areias

  • Not only is this the prettiest, it looks like it’d be the tastiest!

  • I just want to dive into that red broth, really. This dish sounds incredible!

  • Amanda Areias

    Kasey, you made me blush :)…it’s my pleasure to be here, thanks for opening your doors to me!!

  • It was absolutely my pleasure! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful dish and magical words. xo

  • I couldn’t agree more, Nicole!

  • I just ate dinner, but I could still eat a big bowl of this. YUM.

  • I’m already a big fan of Amanda’s blog, Give Me Flour, and her photography. This is a fantastic Mardi Gras post and I can’t wait to try the recipe. I was born and raised in Arkansas, and made many passes through New Orleans with my family for Gulf beach vacations. You’ve brought back a lot of old memories of the wonderful cuisine and people there. Happy Mardi Gras!

  • This is such a beautiful dish. I had no idea what it was from its name. Greek girl here, no idea about New Orleans cuisine, yet I’m taken by the color, the ingredients used and, the garlic. ‘There is no such thing as too much garlic’.. oh yes, I agree!

    Thank you both (guest and host) for a great recipe and story!

  • Cornelia

    Love that you eating straight out of the cooking pan;)

  • Awesome pictures ! And I just print the recipe – sounds so yummy

  • Myfudo

    I bookmarked the page immediately. My husband has been asking me to make a similar recipe and I was so hesitant to try because I dont have a recipe to start with. Thanks for sharing!

  • I would suggest that next time you make this, make a roux. Essentially, you would use two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of oil. Heat them up almost to smoking, then add in 1/4 cup of flour and start stirring. You might want to lower the heat a bit, because you don’t want it to burn. The idea is to cook this mixture (the roux) until it gets a nice shade of brown, usually at least the shade of peanut butter, if not a bit darker. Just don’t let it burn. The more colour you get on it, the better the flavour. It’s a quintessential part of a lot of Louisiana cooking.

    From there, you add in the vegetables and let them cook til they’re softened a bit and then add in the rest of the ingredients as mentioned. Also when you make the shrimp stock, you can use a bottle of beer to replace some of the water. I’m a former resident of New Orleans and that’s how I made my batch last night in honor of Mardi Gras, even if I’m now living in the Netherlands. 🙂

  • That is some tasty looking shrimp etouffée!

  • Looks fantastic and the pictures are fabulous! Thanks for the recipe.

  • So glad to hear you enjoyed Amanda’s post, Magda! It was lovely to have her here.

  • Jess, I had no idea you were raised in Arkansas! Would love to see some Southern recipes on your blog…I’m always curious about what people ate when they were growing up. Tells so much of their story!

  • This looks so tasty and loaded with flavours! Wonderful photos.

  • I’ve never made a roux before, but I’ve heard so much about its magical qualities. Thanks so much for sharing these tips! I don’t know much about Southern cooking and always happy to learn more about it.

  • A roux really isn’t as scary as it is sometimes made out to be, but it really does add a nice extra bit of flavour. You can always start light and let it get darker as you get more experience making it. The French make a roux for many dishes, as well. That’s how it worked its way into Louisiana cooking. You should try shrimp and grits for your next Southern food adventure!

  • I really do need to try it sometime soon! We’ve actually make a faux version of shrimp and grits (love it!): It’s definitely time to give the real thing a spin. I might be coming to you for pointers!

  • Pingback: Fancy lunch, Mardi Gras edition « hipnibbles()

  • I didn’t know this blog until reading this fabulous guest post! I’m heading over now!

  • Wow… that was terrible grammar. This is a sign that I need to get to bed ASAP. 🙂 But the fact is that this is the first time I’m hearing of this blog and, after reading this fabulous post, I’m heading over there to check it out! 🙂

  • Heidi

    I’m a huge etoufee fan and I love this recipe because it can get gussied up for a holiday meal or lay low for a casual night in front of the television. Thrilled to be introduced to a new blog, the pics and story are gorgeous. Give Me Flour is now on my list! Thanks Kasey.

  • Scrumptious recipe and photos!!!

  • Hahah. I love Amanda’s blog, Brian. You will, too!

  • 夏时


  • Pingback: Cambodia Cookbook…shrimp etouffée! « infinitiff()

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