shrimp étouffée

February 20, 2012
If ever there was one dish that represented my family, it would most certainly be étouffée.  More often than not, the one staple meal around my family's dinner table would be crawfish étouffée to be precise.  My entire family hails from Louisiana, and I'm therefore, no stranger to Creole cuisine.   Today, in the Mardi Gras spirit, I'm excited to share my own take on my favorite family dinner.  I made a gluten-free shrimp étouffée. 

If you know Cajun cooking, you know that it all begins with roux.  Roux is typically made with butter and flour and browned in a skillet to create the rich base and serve as a thickening agent.  In this case, I subbed regular wheat flour with a gluten-free version and browned it with vegetable oil.  Along with onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic, the spice-level is kicked up a notch with jalapeño and traditional Cajun seasoning.   Serve this over rice (brown in my case), and you've got yourself a meal suited for a Mardi Gras le roi! 

Be sure to check back in tomorrow for a special Fat Tuesday dessert straight from Bourbon Street!
Shrimp Étouffée
2 pounds shrimp
1/4 cup vegetable oil
heaping 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (I like Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint shrimp stock
1 1/2 tablespoon gluten-free cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon paprika
salt, to taste
3 green onions, chopped for garnish
hot sauce, to taste
  1. To make the gluten-free roux, begin by heating the vegetable oil in a heavy pot over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the gluten-free flour well, making sure there are no clumps. 
  2. Let this cook, stirring often, until it turns a pretty brown; this should take about 10 minutes or so.
  3. Add the celery, green pepper, jalapeno and onion, mix well and cook this over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
  4. Separately, heat the shrimp stock and once hot, slowly add to the pot, stirring constantly so it incorporates. The roux will absorb the stock and seize up at first, then it will loosen. Add enough stock to make a sauce about the thickness of syrup, about 1 pint. 
  5. Add creole seasoning, celery seed and paprika and mix well. 
  6. Add salt to taste, then mix in the shrimp. Cover the pot, turn the heat to its lowest setting and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Top with green onions and/or hot sauce to taste. Serve over rice.