Shrimp Étouffée {New Orleans Style}

Shrimp Ettoufee - Bowl

Back in 1999, I did what most food-loving people should do when visiting New Orleans. And I’m not talking about feasting on Crab Sardou at Galatoire’s or Oysters Arnaud at Arnaud’s. Neither am I talking about enjoying chicory and coffee with a side of beignets at Café du Monde. It goes without saying, a visit to these classic creole establishments is a must-do. As is an evening spent sipping Hurricane’s at Pat O’Brien’s.

What all food lovers should do when visiting The Big Easy is what my hubby made me do. In his infinite wisdom, investing in his long term happiness, he treated me to a cookery class hosted by New Orlean’s renowned ex-NFL playing, larger-than-life Chef, Kevin Belton.

I still have the notes I assiduously took during my cooking class that day in the heart of the French Quarter. After all these years, I apply Kevin’s tips, in particular when making roux, the fat and flour base of many sauces and creole dishes. Here are some of Kevin’s suggestions:

  • When you cook with liquid, don’t use plain water. Use stocks or wine.
  • When making roux, use equal parts butter and all purpose flour or equal parts oil and flour. When should you use butter and when is it best to use oil? For a dark roux, use oil and cook it hot and fast stirring continuously. The darker the color of the roux, the deeper the flavor it will yield. However, it won’t thicken as much as a lighter roux. Different dishes will require a more (darker, nuttier) or less (paler, thicker) cooked roux. Butter burns at a higher temperature which is why oil is often better for creole cuisine. Drippings are also a flavorsome fat with which to make roux. In the notes after the recipe, I will add a different method to make roux without fat (dry roux).
  • When you’re cooking with onions (or other vegetables), put some in at the beginning of the recipe, in the middle, and at the end. That way you will give the dish an extra dimension of flavors.

Now for my favorite New Orleans recipe: Shrimp Étouffée. Étouffée = smothered. Shrimp = nicer than crawfish (in my humble opinion). And by the way … this dish is always best made a day ahead so the flavors have time to blend and infuse.


  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

2 tbsp of sunflower oil
2 tbsp of all purpose flour
¼ cup of unsalted butter
2 onions finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves
1 tbsp of tomato paste
2 lb. of shrimp (thawed) – I prefer raw, wild medium sized shrimp
1 hot green chili pepper, seeded, de-veined and finely chopped (I used some Thai red chili I ground from fresh and froze)
4 tbsp of chopped chives
4 tbsp chopped curly parsley

To make the roux, whisk the oil with the flour in a small heavy pan and cook over high heat, stirring frequently until it is a dark golden brown and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat.
Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic.
Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning.
Add the roux and tomato paste to the cooked vegetables.
Stir in the chili, chives and shrimp.
Cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cool in the fridge overnight.
Top with freshly ground parsley.
Reheat gently and serve over rice.

How to make a dry roux:
This method takes much longer to make but once made, you have it at hand to add to any dish at the same stage you would add the normal roux. The only difference is you are adding less fat to the dish, if that’s your thing.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
On a Cookie sheet add  3 to 4 cups of flour, 1” thick.
Keep 2” clear away from the edge of the sheet (outer flour will otherwise burn).
Cook for 1 ½ to 3 hours – More time, darker roux. Less time, paler roux.
Sprinkle onto cooking vegetables as needed.
Sift remainder and store in an airtight container.

© 2014-2015 Caroline’s Family Kitchen and


  1. Leave a Reply


    After making this recipe, I might suggest some additional liquid and also some salt throughout the process.

    • Leave a Reply


      Thanks so much for your feedback! You could be right, I am very sensitive to salt and feel the shrimp add enough to the dish but of course, it’s a totally personal taste choice. As for the liquid, I would add vegetable broth if you feel it’s too dry. It depends entirely on the shrimp and water content of vegetables used.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Ann Reed

    I Love watching Kelvin Belton on the Create channel we get lots of tips for cooking. Thanks Kelvin

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>