Flavorful, rich, and buttery Crawfish Etouffee is a classic dish straight out of Louisana, and now you can easily bring the taste of New Orleans home!
With a simple, step-by-step process for making perfect Etouffee at home, this no-fuss recipe comes together quickly, tastes authentically amazing, and you’ll find the intimidation factor behind making a roux completely gone. Serve with fluffy white rice, a crusty baguette, and enjoy!
The next time you’ve got a hankering for Louisiana cooking, change it up a bit and make this Creole-style Shrimp Etouffée!
ABOUT CRAWFISH ETOUFFEE [EH-TOO-FEH]
Crawfish Etouffee is a Cajun/Creole dish born out of Louisiana, a state known (and adored) for their abundance of crawfish. A New Orleans-style rendition boasts a smooth, buttery texture that lies somewhere between a stew and a bisque. It comes brimming with crawfish tails and is always served with a heaping hill of fluffy white rice.
This dish can be spicy, but most of the time, it’s mild enough for even small children to enjoy. Its flavor is rich and distinctly Creole thanks to the holy trinity of vegetables, Creole seasonings, Worcestershire and hot sauce.
WHAT’S IN CRAWFISH ETOUFFEE?
Crawfish Etouffee is loaded with flavor and does not skimp on the ingredients. It begins with melted butter, diced yellow onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic.
Flour is used as a thickener, which means this dish is not gluten-free by nature. However, you could probably use a gluten-free flour substitute if needed.
The liquid portion of Etouffee can be made up of either chicken broth or seafood broth, and it is flavored with tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, Creole seasoning, and bay leaf. All of the seasoning ingredients come together to create a masterpiece of flavors, but the importance of Worcestershire sauce in this dish cannot be emphasized enough. It deepens the flavor, gives it richness, and brings forward the buttery nature of the sauce.
The last items to go into this one-pot wonder are the most delicate of them all — diced tomatoes and cooked crawfish tails.
HOW TO MAKE CRAWFISH ETOUFFEE | STEP-BY-STEP
We’ll start with butter and the Cajun holy trinity — onions, celery, and green bell pepper. This will be the base of your Crawfish Etouffee. From there, you’ll sprinkle some flour, add some chicken, throw in the seasoning, and watch it bubble. The crawfish go in, and before you know it, it’s dinnertime.
- Melt butter and sauté vegetables.
- Sprinkle flour over veggie mixture and stir.
- Add tomato paste and chicken broth, and stir.
- Add the remaining seasoning and diced tomatoes, and simmer 6-8 minutes, until slightly thickened.
- Add the crawfish tails and simmer 5 minutes more.
1. WATCH THE BUTTER + ADD THE VEGGIES
Before you add butter to a hot pan, you should always make sure you’ve got the ingredients to follow already prepped. Butter melts fast, and it burns even faster. In this case, what’s to follow is the onion, bell pepper, and celery. The trinity goes in first and is cooked until softened. Then the garlic goes in. If you were to add the garlic at the same time, it would burn before the other vegetables could cook through.
2. BUTTER + FLOUR = ROUX
Oh boy, here comes the scary part — the roux. Except it’s not scary at all, because this really couldn’t get any easier. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir for about 1 minute, giving that flour just enough time to cook on the stovetop.
Maybe this method isn’t what one thinks of when they picture a traditional roux (i.e. a mixture of oil and flour cooking together over heat), but it does the same thing, delivers the same results, and takes the intimidation factor completely out of making one. As promised, this is a very easy Crawfish Etouffee recipe.
ROUX IS WHAT THICKENS ETOUFFEE
As mentioned earlier, a roux is just a cooked mixture of flour and fat. The roux is an important component of many sauces as it serves as the thickening agent. Well, technically the flour is the thickening agent, but the oil the flour is mixed into helps to evenly distribute that thickening agent throughout the sauce.
3. ADD TOMATO PASTE AND BROTH
Before you add your broth to the base of the dish, you’ll first stir in the tomato paste. The tomato paste, in addition to the Creole seasoning and the crawfish tails, is what gives Etouffee its gorgeous color.
Once the tomato paste goes in, you can begin adding your unsalted chicken broth or seafood broth.
TAKE NOTE OR BE SALTY LATER
You might have noticed the word “unsalted” proceeds the word chicken broth. It’s very important. Chicken or seafood broths equipped with sodium will likely make your Crawfish Etouffee too salty when used in combination with the Creole seasoning. You could also use “low-sodium” broths.
When you first add your chicken broth, add it one big splash at a time (no more than a 1/4 cup), stirring well after each addition. This is a foolproof way to make sure that your sauce turns out perfectly smooth and silky in texture.
4. SEASON AND SIMMER AWAY
Next, you’ll add in the Worcestershire sauce, the hot sauce, all of those glorious spices and the chopped tomatoes. The chopped tomatoes are added toward the end so they maintain their texture and their flavor stays pronounced.
Now, it’s time for a simmer to take place. The simmer allows the Etoufee to thicken up and gives all of those flavors time to marry. At this point, you’ll want to stir occasionally to ensure nothing sticks or burns to the bottom of your pan.
5. CRAWFISH GO IN AT THE END
The crawfish are the last thing to go into your Etouffee as the tails are tiny and won’t take long to heat up. If you were to add toward the beginning, you can be certain those delicate little tails would be overcooked.
This recipe is ideal for using up any leftover crawfish from a crawfish boil, but crawfish season isn’t the only time of year you can make it. In the Southern region of the United States, you can find always find frozen crawfish tails near the frozen shrimp.
Note: To thaw frozen crawfish tails, simply place in the refrigerator overnight.
HOW TO SERVE CRAWFISH ETOUFFEE
To serve Crawfish Etouffee, ladle a cup or so into a bowl and top it with steamed white rice. Sliced green onions and minced parsley make a tasty and beautiful garnish (if desired).
Serve it alongside a crusty baguette and an ice cold beer. If you’re not a beer person, you could also serve it with a cold glass of white wine. A buttery Chardonnay or a light Pinot Grigio would both be good choices of wine to pair with the dish as well.
STORAGE AND FREEZING INFORMATION
According to FDA guidelines, Crawfish Etouffee can be kept safely in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, so eat it up quickly! However, you can extend the shelf life by freezing it.
To freeze, transfer it to a freezer-safe, gallon-sized ziptop bag and seal tightly. I like to lay the bag flat on a sheet pan (or something of the sort) to make the thawing process go by much faster later on down the road. Etouffee from the freezer is best eaten within a 3-month time span but can be frozen for up to 6 months.
5 MORE DINNER IDEAS YOU’LL LOVE
- Roast Beef Po’ Boys is another New Orlean’s favorite featuring slow-cooker roast beef and crusty French Bread with the toppings piled high!
- Texas Chili makes for a comforting family meal, loaded with beef and the perfect blend of chili spices.
- Easy Taco Soup is an easy, hearty soup with taco-seasoned ground beef, kidney beans, and big Tex-Mex flavor.
- Shrimp Sandwiches are light and filling all at the same time! Full of perfectly cooked shrimp, crisp lettuce, and a tangy Parmesan Caesar dressing.
- Creamy Chicken and Dumplings is a Southern classic made easy. A flavorful soup featuring shredded chicken, vegetables, and easy, plump drop dumplings.
Transport the rich and buttery flavors of Crawfish Etouffee from New Orleans to your dinner table tonight with this easy, no-fuss Crawfish Etouffee recipe!
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 3 stalks of celery, finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups unsalted chicken broth or unsalted seafood broth
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Generous pinch black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large tomato (seeds and pulp removed), diced
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen cooked crawfish tails, thawed
Add the butter to a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Do not allow the butter to burn. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery as soon as the butter has melted and sauté until softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute more.
Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, and stir for about 1 - 2 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, and begin adding the first 2 cups of chicken broth one big splash at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add the remaining chicken broth and stir to combine.
Stir in the Worcestershire, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, salt, black pepper, bay leaf, and diced tomato.
Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and simmer for 6-8 minutes, until the mixture is slightly thickened. Stir occasionally. Add the crawfish tails and simmer an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with a heaping serving of fluffy white rice, and enjoy!
Makes about 7 cups of etouffee.