Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Rosie Makes Shrimp Etouffée.

Shrimp is quite the versatile little crustacean.  One can boil it, steam it, bake it, grill it, fry it, sauté it.  Or one can smother it, which is what etouffée means and what I'm doing to it today.  Shrimp etouffée is gastronomy rooted in the history of New Orleans.  It’s a seafood dish smothered in vegetables, in this case, the “Holy Trinity” of onion, celery, and bell pepper, along with a tomato-based sauce, resulting in a spicy and rich, aromatic, stew-like preparation served atop a bed of rice.

Now, I’m not getting into the Cajun vs Creole aspects of this dish or its original association with crawfish.  I’m just making something good to eat with Louisiana flare using what I have on hand.  (And I always have shrimp on hand.)  It’s simply my version of a classic dish.  In addition, you’ll learn two valuable culinary techniques along the way – how to make a roux and how to make shrimp stock.

Rosie’s Shrimp Etouffée

10-12 oz. medium-sized shrimp, shelled and de-tracted (Save shells for stock!) You can use more, but when I freeze my shrimp, they’re usually packed in 10 ounce units.  And I say de-tracted, not de-veined, since that black line going down the back of the shrimp is the digestive tract, not a vein.

Spice mixture for shrimp:
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp granulated garlic
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp paprika
Mix all spices and toss with shrimp.  It’s OK if you’re missing a spice or two here.  My recipes aren’t etched in stone.

3 TB unsalted butter
1 TB oil
¼ cup flour

2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup + shrimp stock (recipe ahead)
1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles
1 TB Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

For the stock:
When you peel your shrimp, place shells in a medium stock pot.  Add in a coarsely chopped carrot, chopped celery with leaves, chopped onion with skins, a few smashed garlic cloves with peel, and a couple bay leaves.  Cover with water.  I used a little over a quart.  Add in about a teaspoon kosher salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let bare-simmer for about 40 minutes.  Strain out liquid and discard solids.  You’ll have a little over 2 cups of stock.

For shrimp etouffée:
In medium pot, heat butter and oil over medium heat until butter is sizzling.  Add in flour and cook, stirring, about 8 minutes, until mixture turns dark blond.  This is officially a roux.

Add in celery, pepper, and onion and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
Slowly pour in shrimp stock, stirring, letting mixture thicken, about 5 minutes.
Add in can of tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce.
Reduce heat to low, add in shrimp, and let cook until shrimp are just done, 3 - 4 minutes.

Serve on a bed of white rice and top with chopped green onions, parsley, and optional shakes of Texas Pete hot sauce.

Now, for the step-by-steps:

Here's my shrimp thawing.

I peeled the shrimp,
saving the shells,
and discarding those black squiggly tracts.

First, make the stock.

Put the shells in a stock pot,
add in some coarsely chopped onion, celery, carrot, and some smashed garlic.
I don't bother to peel anything.

 Cover with water - a big quart.
 Add some kosher salt and let it barely simmer.

 I had some bay leaves, so I threw them in,
along with some peppercorns.
Simmer about 40 minutes.
Let it cool.
Drain and discard solids.

While the stock is simmering,
mix the shrimp spices together.

Here, I have:
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp granulated garlic
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp paprika
Mix all together and ...
toss with shrimp to evenly coat.

Now, it's time to start on the etoufée.
It starts with the holy trinity of Cajun and Creole cooking.
And that would be onion, bell pepper, and celery.
This combination forms the base of most Louisiana savory dishes,
usually added to a roux as the beginning of a soup, stew, gumbo, jambalaya,
or whatever dish you might want.

Chopchopchop and set aside while you make the roux.

A roux is a mixture of equal parts fat (usually butter) and flour.
It's cooked to varying stages or degrees of colors, 
depending on what it's going into,
and it's used as a thickener.

I heated 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil
until the butter was bubbly,
then added in 1/4 cup of flour.
(1/4 cup = 4 TB)

Cook the flour, stirring, over medium to medium low heat...
...until it starts to color.
The longer you cook your roux,
the darker it gets and the more flavorful it becomes.
For example, for a soufflé, you want a light-colored roux.
For a gumbo, you want a dark-colored roux.
After you've cooked your roux to the desired color,
then you slowly add you liquid in, a little bit at a time,
whisking after each addition,
until smooth and completely free of lumps.
Making a roux is your basic technique for making
sauces and gravies and for thickening soups.

For your etouffée, you want it a dark blonde color.
This will take about 8 minutes.
Add the holy trinity to the roux.

Cook, stirring, another couple minutes.

Slowly, add in a cup of the strained shrimp stock.

Just a little bit at a time, stirring after each addition.

 Add more stock, if needed.

Stir over low heat and let thicken.
Add in the can of tomatoes and chilies.

Keep stirring.
Add in a splash of Lea & Perrins.

When the sauce is nice and thick,
add in the seasoned shrimp.
Heat until just done.

Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

And serve!
Serve shrimp and sauce over a bed of rice.
I topped with chopped celery leaves, parsley, and green onions.

You know,
if you had some cornbread 
and sliced, buttered, and toasted it,
that would be just great for sopping up all the goodness here.

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