Do you like Dutch Oven cooking? What about Crawfish or Shrimp Etouffee? How about tailgating on the campus of your favorite college? Well grab your favorite dutch oven and follow along with me. When we’re done, you’re going to have one great “lip smacking” treat that will have all of your friends running back for more. You had better cook extra biscuits because with a rich recipe like this one, you’re going to want to savor every drop. What you’ll need for this recipe is:
- One 4-5 gallon Jambalaya Pot or One 12-20 QT Dutch Oven. My philosophy has always been, I’d rather have a dutch oven too large than one too small.
- A controllable heat source, whether it be an oven top or propane burner.
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped or 1 can of Rotel Tomatoes (do not drain)
- 2 cups of water or fish stock or clam juice
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 pounds crawfish, peeled (shrimp can be substituted)
- 1 cup chopped green onions, including the greens
- 4 teaspoons Hot Sauce – your preference or replace with a dash of cayenne
Step one: Make a Roux!
This is one of the most important parts. One of the things that gives this recipe such a rich taste is the fact that I make a roux from scratch. If you’ve never made a roux, relax, it’s not that hard. You just need to pay particular attention to the job at hand or things can go awry. The key to making a good roux is to cook it long enough to get a dark brown color with a rich taste, but cook it slow enough not to burn it. A scorched roux makes for bad tasting etouffee. To make a roux, heat your dutch oven or jambalaya pot to a high heat then add the oil. Heat the oil until very hot and add the flour, salt and black pepper. At this point reduce the heat slightly and stir the mixture with a large spoon or paddle.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT LET THE FLOUR SIT FOR VERY LONG WITHOUT STIRRING OR YOU WILL SCORCH YOUR ROUX.!!! Stir almost continuously until your roux reaches the desired color, the darker the roux the richer the taste. This should take several minutes. Remember, patience is a virtue and it takes patience to make a roux.
Step two: Begin mixing ingredients
At this point, mix the bell pepper, onion, garlic and celery one item at a time into the dutch oven. Your roux will “dry up” but don’t worry. Cook these items until they begin to soften. Remember to stir frequently to keep from scorching the dish or having the roux stick to the dutch oven.
Step three: Add tomatoes, spices and water
After the onions and peppers begin to soften, add the water, tomatoes, basil, thyme, bay leaf and either the cayenne or hot sauce. Cook on medium high heat. Stir well then reduce heat, cover the dutch oven or jambalaya pot and let simmer for about fifteen minutes. The stock should thicken some.
Step four: Add crawfish or shrimp
After simmering for about fifteen minutes, remove the dutch oven cover and add your choice of meat to the dish. Bring this to a slow boil and cook for five to ten minutes uncovered.
Step five: Remove and serve
After boiling for approximately ten minutes, remove the dutch oven from the heat source and remove the bay leaf from the dish. Re-cover the dish and let stand until ready to serve. A gauge of how long to let the dish stand is to prepare the rice while the dish stands.
Step six: Enjoy!
This dish is delicious when served with fresh homemade biscuits and served over rice. Garnish with the chopped green onions. Follow it up with a lemon meringue or lemon ice box pie.