Sunday, January 18, 2009


In French, the word "étouffée" means, literally, "smothered" or "suffocated", from the verb "étouffer". With the freezing cold weather I experienced all last week in Illinois and the icy temperatures I returned home to in DC, being suffocated actually sounded like a comforting idea. I decided to make Crawfish Etoufee since it was the perfect cold-weather comfort food in my mind. Anything that reminds me of home - my beloved New Orleans - has the ability to take the chill out of any blistery DC winter night. Not only did the warm dish served over white rice warm me to the core, but the stress of making my very first roux got me heated up as well!

Crawfish Etouffee
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • 1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
  • 4 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • Cooked white rice, for serving

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook until the roux is a peanut butter color, about 5 minutes. Do not walk away from your roux, once it begins to turn brown it cooks very quickly and if you don't constantly stir it you will risk burning the crucial ingredients.

Add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers and saute until soft and golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the crawfish and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium.

Stirring occasionally, cook until the crawfish begin throwing off a little liquid, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the chicken stock to the crawfish mixture and season with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.

Stir until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Add the parsley and green onions and cook for about 2 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and serve over cooked white rice.

This recipe needed some additions in the flavor department, which is very surprising for an Emeril recipe. If you click on his original recipe you will notice the omission of black pepper and garlic. I don't cook anything without black pepper and I knew garlic would enhance the flavors so I made sure to add them. This was the first Emeril recipe that I had to doctor after tasting the first bite. Normally his recipes are very spicy but this one wasn't. I also don't think I went far enough with my roux because the dish was more orange in color than brown and I think that if I had let if cook a little more it may have made a difference.


Joelen said...

Wow - this looks amazing! Great job and I love how comforting this is with rice!

Gabriela said...

What a mouth-watering and enticing dish! I can just taste the heat, albeit mild, and the mesmerizing flavor of the crawfish tails! Your photos are divine.

bensbaby116 said...

lol The peanut butter jar was to illustrate the color of the roux right? I have to admit that I scrolled up to see if there was really PB in this recipe. HA! Looks great. I wonder if I can even buy crawfish around here. I've never tried!

gaga said...

Yum, that looks fantastic! Maybe I'll try it with shrimp since I have no idea where to crawfish. Good call on adding pepper and garlic. Those can only make it better!

Tia said...

Your etouffee looks like absolute perfection. I am sitting here, drooling all over myself. lol

I would love to make it but I can't bring myself to use shrimp in place of crawfish. :( It's wildly expensive to have it shipped here.

KMAYS said...

I could totally go for something like this right now. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for crawfish tails!

phammy said...

It looks wonderful - I'll have to try the recipe!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your regional recipes. They all look so delicious! Especially this one! YUM!

Spryte said...

That looks SOOO good!!! Are those crawfish tails raw going into the pot? I assumed they'd be kinda gray like shrimp.

Elizabeth said...


I use frozen crawfish in my cooking that I purchase back in my hometown in Louisiana and they are partially cooked and already shelled.

Raw Crawfish aren't exactly like raw shrimp. Dead crawfish don't get used because the flesh deteriorates very quickly. So I guess to answer your question, you won't ever see raw crawfish meat because in order to get the meat out of the hard exterior shell (think lobster) they are boiled live first.

Spryte said...

Thanks so much!! I'm land-locked here in Pittsburgh and thought I was missing out on 'fresh' crawfish! I'm definitely going to start trying out some crawfish recipes!!! This looks like the perfect recipe to start with!

The Duo Dishes said...

Etoufee means 'I love you' in Creole. Yum!

Kevin said...

That looks good. I have been wanting to try both etouffee and crawfish.

Cris said...

I'm so going to make this one. Thanks Elizabeth.great post!