On the Bayou
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 of a green bell pepper, diced
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if desired
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (recipe follows)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups shrimp stock or 1 cup clam juice and 1 cup water
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 pounds large shrimp peeled and deveined *
Rice, for serving
Chopped fresh chives, for serving, optional
* When we first made this, we used large shrimp but discovered they were sometimes awkward to cut. Lately, we have been using the small salad shrimp - which often come pre-cooked - and they work beautifully! (January 2014)
Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour to form a paste. Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma, about 15 to 20 minutes (Mark thinks it smells like baking pie crust!).
To the roux, add the onion, green pepper, red pepper and celery, and cook covered over medium-low heat about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are limp.
Add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, parsley, and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
Add the shrimp stock and tomatoes with their juice; stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add shrimp and stir. It will take about 5-7 minutes for shrimp to cook, depending on the size of the shrimp; do not overcook.
Remove from heat, transfer the étouffée to a tureen and serve with rice. Garnish with the chopped chives.
David's Cajun Seasoning Blend
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons cayenne
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons dried shallots
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Place all ingredients in a spice grinder and pulverize.
Makes about 3/4 cup.