Crawfish Etouffee: the classic Louisiana dish is a dish that you should be making at least once a year to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Yep, we said. You should be making it once a year to celebrate Mardi Gras. Don’t believe us? Here are four very important reasons why:
- Crawfish etouffee is a Cajun and Creole classic. There are plenty of great dishes like Jambalaya and Gumbo, but etouffee is a comfort food staple that you definitely need to make.
- This dish is extremely straightforward to make. While it involves a number of steps, they are all easy to do, so cooks of any skill can make this recipe. We promise you’ll love the process of seeing the dish come together, and it’ll make your house smell simply divine!
- Because of the the French name of the dish, it seems fancy. It’s also easy to plate to look fancy. So if you’re looking to impress someone with a nice dinner, making crawfish etouffee is a great way to do it!
- Crawfish etouffee is incredibly satisfying. The combination of rich and flavorful sauce with the crawfish is so filling, especially on the cold Midwestern nights during Mardi Gras season.
Those reasons *have* to convince you to make this dish, right? If not, here’s a bit more description of the dish. Etouffee (well really it should be spelled étouffée, but we don’t want to type out the accents each time) is a French word that means “smoothered” and is used to describe this dish because of the way the crawfish are smoothered in the rich sauce and then dumped on top of rice.
The combination of roux (cooked flour) with the cooked vegetables, crawfish, tomatoes, and seasonings result in a perfectly balanced flavor profile without having to use much salt or heat to make the dish incredibly tasty. We love the way this dish builds layers upon layers of flavor, and we think you’ll like it too.
Our crawfish etouffee (well really it should be spelled étouffée, but we don’t want to type out the accents each time) recipe is based on more of a Creole-style of cooking with tomatoes and a blond roux. This is not a spicy dish, so if you’re leery of Cajun and Creole dishes because you think they’re all spicy, this is a great dish for you to try.
Alright, let’s answer a few questions you may have about this dish, and then get on with the ingredients and directions!
What makes this a Creole-style crawfish etouffee instead of Cajun?
There are two things that make this etouffee Creole-style instead of Cajun:
- Tomatoes. We love adding tomatoes to this dish. The flavor and acidity they bring to the dish is key, in our opinion. However, you can totally make this dish without using tomatoes and end up with more of a traditional Cajun-style of etouffee.
- Blond roux. Creoles usually cook their roux a little darker than Cajuns. This brings a bit more flavor to the dish.
These are slight differences, but we know people care, so we wanted to make sure that we explained!
What type of crawfish should I use for this crawfish etouffee?
You should use cooked, peeled and deveined crawfish tails for this recipe, not whole crawfish. We recommend making sure you buy tails from Louisiana, which means you’ll probably be getting them frozen, and that is totally fine. Just defrost them in cold water before you put them into this recipe!
We sell frozen Louisiana crawfish tails at Lake Geneva Country Meats, or you can buy crawfish online from places like Boudreaux’s.
Can I substitute other proteins for the crawfish?
Cooked shrimp is another good option for etouffee, or if you don’t like shellfish, you could also use a cooked sausage (like our Smoked Andouille Sausage), or cooked chicken. These aren’t as common, but definitely acceptable.
What should I use for Creole Seasoning?
We are big fans of these two Creole seasonings:
Of course, you could also make Chef Emerile Lagasse’s Creole Seasoning at home as well!
I’m here for spicy food, can I make this dish spicy?
While this isn’t traditionally a spicy dish, you can certainly up the spice in this dish by using one (or both) of these methods:
- Add a teaspoon or two of cayenne pepper along with the Creole seasoning.
- Drop in a dash or two or three of hot sauce like Tabasco with the tomato sauce.
We hope these answered your questions. This recipe will make enough to feed at least 8, so get ready to have a party of delicious Creole food! Let us know what you think of the recipe and if you have any questions by leaving us a comment below. Cheers!
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1 Yellow Onion (chopped)
- 1 Green Pepper (chopped)
- 2 Celery Stalks (chopped)
- 3 clove Garlic (minced)
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes (drained 14 oz can – about 1.5 cups)
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 2 tsp Creole Seasoning
- 1 lb Crawfish Tails
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 6 Green Onion (chopped)
- Black Pepper
- 2 cup Cooked Rice (white or brown, your choice)
Heat a large cast-iron Dutch oven to medium-low heat. Add the butter and melt. Once the butter is melted, stir in the flour and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches a golden color. Stir consistently to make sure the roux does not burn.
Add the onion, green pepper, and celery and continue cooking over medium heat for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the minced garlic, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, creole seasoning, crawfish, and bay leaf. Stir together, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for five to ten minutes, until the mixture is heated through. Taste and season to your taste with more Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper. You can also add cayenne pepper or hot sauce at this stage if you’d like more spice to the dish.
Once warmed, remove the dish from heat, discard the bay leaf, and serve crawfish etouffee over hot cooked rice with green onions as a garnish. Enjoy your Creole-style Crawfish Etouffee!