Crawfish Etouffee

Crawfish are at the heart of many Cajun dinners but live crawfish can be hard to find in Ohio. Louisiana crawfish tail meat is sold in the freezer section of many stores. If you can’t find crawfish meat, use shrimp. Etouffee means “smothered,” and that’s exactly what happens in this dish – the crawfish are smothered under caramelized vegetables and a tasty roux, which is a cooked mixture of butter and flour. To avoid burning the roux, be sure to add the onion and celery as soon as the roux turns the color of peanut butter. This will instantly lower the roux’s temperature. Once the roux is cooked, the rest of the dish comes together quickly.

Etouffee Seasoning Mix

1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1/4 cup flour


Crawfish Etouffee

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb peeled crawfish tail meat, thawed
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
Cooked white rice
2 scallions, chopped
Sliced lemon
Tabasco sauce

Seasoning: In a small bowl, mix the salt, paprika, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, basil and cayenne. Set aside

Etouffee: In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is the color of peanut butter. Immediately add the chopped onion and celery. Cook until onion and celery are softened. Add seasoning mix and garlic. Sauté 1 minute. Add broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, add crawfish tails and simmer 5-10 minutes, uncovered, or until crawfish tails are cooked through. Remove bay leaf. Serve etouffee over cooked white rice, garnished with scallions and sliced lemon. Pass Tabasco sauce.

Serves 4

Gary – Think white wines for this dish. Both lighter and richer wines will work as the caramelization of the vegetables lends a lightly sweet overtone to the sauce and increases its flavor.

For lightly sweet whites consider ripely fruited Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Gewürztraminer and unoaked Sauvignon Blanc/Sancerre or Chardonnay. A crisp sparkler would also work, particularly if made from Chenin Blanc, or a Prosecco with more ripeness than acidity.

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