It’s only fitting that a state that gave us National Treasures such as Jazz, Creole Cooking and America’s best Mardi Gras would have its own special day. Part of the Louisiana Purchase of land from France in 1803, Louisiana was the first of 15 states to be carved out of the region. The great state of Louisiana entered the union in 1812.
Louisiana holds the secrets of pirates and hidden treasures, scared by the conflicts of slavery and the struggles of progress. More than any other state in the Union, Louisiana embodies the term “melting pot”. Woven into the tapestry of its rich history are the people who settled and shaped the area. While blended together in a uniquely Louisiana way, each of these people – the Native Americans, French, Spanish, German, African, Irish and Caribbean peoples – have all made their obvious contributions . Louisiana is an amazing swirl of diverse and distinct cultures and life in the bayou is unlike any other. Their individual influence can be found in the food, the language and the music that is unquestionable Louisiana.
Oh and one last thing – Étouffée is a dish found in both Cajun and creole cuisines. Étouffée dishes are most popular in New Orleans and the Acadiana area of the southernmost half of Louisiana. Étouffée literately means “smothered” or “suffocated”, which is what happens to the rice. While traditionally made with crayfish, this shrimp rendition utilizes ingredients that are more readily available. Enjoy!
Louisiana Shrimp Étouffée
2 cups White Rice
Cook rice according to package directions or according to your rice steamer. Keep rice warm until ready to serve. While the rice is cooking, make the spice blend.
3/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground Thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
Whisk paprika, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, and black pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
The Shrimp Étouffée
2 lbs medium Shrimp
1/3 cup White Onion
1/3 cup Green Bell Pepper
1/3 cup Celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Flour, or as needed
1/2 cup diced Tomatoes
1 3/4 cups Chicken Stock, or as needed
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 dash Louisiana Hot Sauce, or more to taste
Salt to taste
Peel and devein the shrimp. Drain shrimp in a colander for at least 15 minutes.
While the shrimp is draining, peel and dice the onion. Set aside. Dice the bell pepper. Set aside. Rinse and thinly slice the celery. Set aside.
Transfer shrimp to a bowl lined with paper towels and let the shrimp dry for about 3 minutes. Remove paper towels from bowl and season shrimp with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon spice blend. Toss to coat shrimp with spice blend.Set aside.
Heat vegetable oil a large heavy skillet over high heat until oil is smoking hot. Cook shrimp in the hot oil without stirring for 1 minute; stir, and cook 1 minute more.
Transfer shrimp to a large bowl. Let stand until juice forms in bowl. Strain shrimp juices into chicken stock to total 2 cups, adding more chicken stock if necessary.
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat until butter begins to turn tan at the edges. Saute onion, celery, and green pepper in hot butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in remaining spice blend.
Sprinkle flour into vegetable mixture and saute until combined, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; cook until tomato juices begin to brown on bottom of pan, about 3 minutes. Whisk stock into vegetable mixture, stirring until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and reduced to a gravy consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Season with salt to taste.
Stir shrimp into Etouffee sauce; let simmer until shrimp are cooked all the way through and no longer translucent, about 1 minute.
Using a measuring cup or small bowl, form rice into a mound. Place rice in the center of a rimmed shallow dish or bowl. Pour shrimp around the rice, with more sauce over the top of the rice. Garnish to finish and serve.
1/4 cup Green Onions
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Slice green onions, sprinkle over the shrimp. Dust with a little cayenne pepper and enjoy. This dish is great with warm sourdough bread.