When I lived in Louisiana I worked in healthcare (my first career… or maybe it was my second). To say thank you, one of my patients brought me a beautiful Cajun chicken stew, sweet potato biscuits and braised greens. Ranger Craig and I ate for a week on that delicious meal!
Mrs. Breaux’s kindness touched my heart. Her meal was divine. A born and bred Cajun lady who cooked the best chicken stew I’ve ever tasted. The sweet potato biscuits were soft as pillows and the greens were silky and perfectly seasoned. It’s been 20 years. I still remember her sweet face and that beautiful meal.
Mrs. Breaux not only touched my heart, she peeked my taste buds. I became obsessed with Cajun food. I tried cooking it, but we all know how that turned out. I was hands down the worst cook in the history of cooks. Even one of my chef instructors said he thought I might be hopeless. But, practice makes perfect!
I mastered the chicken stew, although still not as good as Mrs. Breaux’s, and I learned to prepare one mean and spicy gumbo. Etouffee is icing on the cake after mastering gumbo.
And it’s icing on the cake when the recipe just happens to be written by my very first chef crush, Emeril Lagasse. That man couldn’t create a bad recipe if he tried.
Yes, Ranger Craig knows he’s got some competition. But he doesn’t mind. As long as the food is delicious!
Emeril Lagasse’s Crawfish Etouffee
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped green onions (I like extra for garnish)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 cups shrimp stock or water (I used seafood stock)
1 pound crawfish tails
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (I squeeze half a lemon)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
Cooked long grain white rice
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring to make a light roux. This will take a few minutes. I cook the roux until it looks the color of peanut butter.
Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft. About 5 minutes.
Add the sherry and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Add the stock and crawfish tails and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice.
Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.
Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve over rice and garnish with additional parsley or green onions.
I love this dish after it’s sat on the stove for about 30 minutes. And it’s even better the next day. If you want to prepare this the day before, follow all directions as listed above. Cook and store the etouffee in a separate container from the rice. Reheat them separately the next day and then serve them together.