This Creole style Crawfish Etouffee recipe is packed with flavor. Etouffee literally translates to "smothered" and it's a dish that's commonly found in Creole and Cajun cooking. Served with white rice, it's been delighting shellfish lovers for decades.
Easy Crawfish Etouffee Recipe
Is etouffee always made with crawfish? In this instance it is yes, but it can also be made with crab or shrimp. It's always served over rice and there are differences between Creole and Cajun versions with each highlighting their own little nuances. Some cook's won't use tomatoes in their etouffee at all but this recipe is all about how we love eating it. There are crushed tomatoes in my version giving it a full flavored profile. Etouffee translates as smothered and this recipe lives up to that description with its thick gravy like sauce that soaks into the rice.
How to Make the Best Crawfish Etouffee Recipe
Many foodies and lovers of etouffee have varying opinions about whether tomatoes should be used as an ingredient in etouffee. Adding tomatoes to the mix tends to be more of a Creole style of cooking, but at the end of the day it comes down to what you like, right? I do include tomatoes in my crawfish etouffee recipe and I'll be the first to say that I love it either way.
- Ingredients you'll need to make homemade Crawfish Etouffee: To make the roux, you'll need butter and flour. Next you'll add the trinity of diced onion, celery and green bell pepper. You'll also need shrimp stock or fish stock, minced garlic, canned diced tomatoes, Cajun or Creole seasoning, salt, black pepper, cayenne, bay leaves, fresh thyme, crawfish tails, green onions, lemon juice, fresh parsley cooked white rice and hot sauce for serving.
- Kitchen gadgets you'll need: A large 6 quart Dutch oven or similar size heavy bottomed pot, chopping board, sharp knife, measuring cups and spoons, a whisk, a large stirring spoon, bowls and a ladle for serving.
- The roux for etouffee isn't cooked quite as long as the roux for gumbo. It's cooked for a shorter period which results in a more golden color and lighter taste.
- If you don't live at the coast and have easy access to fresh seafood you can use frozen crawfish tails available in the freezer section of most grocery stores. They work like a charm in this etouffee recipe.
- You can thicken the etouffee at the end of cooking with tomato paste, if desired. Begin by using 1-2 tablespoons at a time repeating until desired thickness is reached. If you prefer not to add more tomato to the flavor profile you can also thicken with a cornstarch slurry. Begin with 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in an equal amount of cold water. Stir together until fully dissolved then whisk it into the etouffee. Repeat the process until your desired thickness is reached. Keep in mind the sauce is meant to be thicker than a broth but thinner than a thick country gravy.
- Store leftover Crawfish Etouffee in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Reheat gently over medium heat in a saucepan on the stovetop.
More Southern Style Cajun and Creole Recipes to Make
I adore the food of New Orleans. It's spicy and full flavored and features an obvious French influence that makes the fusion of flavors so satisfying. More Cajun and Creole inspired recipes you may like to try:
- My take on Cajun Dirty Rice.
- Shrimp Po'boy Recipe served on toasted hoagie rolls fully dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, dill pickles and mayonnaise or Cajun aioli.
- My easy Air Fryer Salmon is coated with a delicious Cajun blend of seasonings.
- Easy Shrimp Creole is rich and delicious.
- Cajun Orzo with Andouille Sausage is a family pleasing meal.
- You may also enjoy this Creole Shrimp Dip recipe from Creole Contessa.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- ½ cup butter plus 2 Tbsp
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups shrimp stock or fish stock
- 1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes See Cook's note
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seassoning
- ½ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 medium bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 lbs frozen crawfish tails thawed
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 bunch green onions thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoon chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
- cooked white rice and hot sauce for serving
- In a large cast-iron Dutch oven or similar deep heavy skillet, melt ½ cup butter. Whisk in flour. Cook stirring or whisking over low heat until mixture is a caramel-colored paste similar to peanut butter. About 20 minutes.
- To the pot add the onion, celery, pepper and onions; stir until coated. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften, around 5-8 minutes. Add minced garlic, cooking for 1 minute longer.
- Next, add the stock, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper,cayenne, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Uncover, discard bay leaf and thyme stems. Add crawfish, lemon juice, green onions and 2 tablespoons parsley. Add a few dashes of hot sauce. Cook uncovered over medium low for 10-15 minutes or just until crawfish is heated through. Whisk in reserved 2 tablespoon butter. Mix well. (Reserve a few green onions for garnishing)
- Serve ladled over cooked white rice, with hot sauce and garnished with reserved parsley and green onions.
- Please note: If you want to thicken the etouffee further at the end of cooking you can by using tomato paste 1 tablespoon at a time until desired thickness is reached.