Etouffee – say it with me – Eh-too-FAY.Etouffee is the famous Cajun and Creole stew, thickened with roux, simmered with stock, and used to coat shrimp. I use a pressure cooker to speed the recipe along, making the shrimp stock and simmering the etouffee broth. Instead of taking all afternoon, the recipe takes…um…OK, most of an evening. Making roux can’t be rushed. Please, pay attention while you’re making roux. Multitasking leads to to burnt roux. Um…not that I know anything about burnt roux. I would never try to chop the onions while the roux was cooking, and scorch the flour in the pot.
Pressure Cook Shrimp Stock: Peel the shrimp, saving the shrimps and the shells. Put the shrimp in the refrigerator for later, and the shells in the pressure cooker pot. Add the rest of the shrimp stock ingredients to the pressure cooker pot. Lock the pressure cooker lid and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, then let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, pressure cook on high for 15 minutes, then quick release the pressure.) Open the lid carefully - the pot is full of hot steam. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer, and set it aside.
Make the roux: Wipe out the pressure cooker pot. Melt the butter in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, stir the flour and Cajun seasoning to the pot. Cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is the color of peanut butter, about five minutes.
Sauté the aromatics: Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic to the roux. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and sauté until the aromatics soften, about five minutes.
Pressure cook the étouffée broth: Stir in the shrimp stock, scraping the bottom of the pot to make sure the roux isn’t sticking. Pour the tomatoes on top of the broth, but don’t stir. Lock the pressure cooker lid and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. (Again, if you're in a hurry, cook at high pressure for 15 minutes and quick release the pressure.)
Cook the shrimp: Open the lid (carefully - the pot is full of hot steam). Turn the heat to low and bring the etouffe broth to a simmer. Toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon Cajun spice rub and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, then add the shrimp to the simmering broth. Simmer the shrimp until they are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Season and serve the étouffée: Stir the parsley into the pot. Taste the broth, and add salt and pepper as needed. (If you use homemade stock, without any added salt, this will take more salt than you think. A tablespoon of Kosher salt usually works for me, but I start with a half tablespoon and keep adding and tasting.) To serve: put a scoop of white rice in a bowl, ladle the soup on top, then sprinkle with parsley. Pass the Tabasco sauce at the table for anyone who likes an extra kick with their dinner.
I prefer to release the pressure naturally in the pot; from what I’ve read, flavor escapes the pot with the steam, so a sealed environment means more flavorful etouffee. But…when I’m in a hurry, quick pressure release it is. Five extra minutes under pressure equals the fifteen minutes or so of cooking that comes with a natural pressure release.
If you’re really in a hurry, you can speed up the recipe by doing steps 2 and 3 (make the roux, saute the aromatics) in a separate pot while the shrimp stock is pressure cooking. After straining the stock, pour a cup or two into the pot with the roux and aromatics to loosen them up, then pour everything back into the pressure cooker and continue with step 4, pressure cook the etouffee broth.
I love saying etouffee. It just rolls off the tongue. Etouffee!
If you use store bought Cajun spice rub, check the label to figure out the salt content. If the first or second ingredient is “salt”, skip the teaspoon of kosher salt when tossing the shrimp with the rub. If salt is third on the ingredient list or later, go with the teaspoon of kosher salt in the recipe.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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