Free Food Secrets!

First of all…

♥ ♥ ♥ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I LOVE YOU! ♥ ♥ ♥

Ahem… now that that’s out of the way…

The weather is changing, which means my cooking style is also changing. For those that know me, you know that I love to cook, and it’s fitting that this comes on my mother’s birthday. I learned my love of the kitchen from her.

I’m also one of those weird kitchen savants. Adventurous, fearless, and not afraid to use my family as guinea pigs. This is one of my favorite recipes…and one of the ones my husband absolutely cannot eat. He’s not good with spicy food, and he’s not a big fan of some of the ingredients.

There’s a reason why I chose this particular recipe. Some of you will be happy to know that I’m currently working on a sequel to Marked. This particular food features in the story, so it seemed a nice teaser.

I should probably warn you now that I cook for an army, so this recipe feeds 12. And a hungry 12 at that. Oh, and I like my food heavy, rich, and very spicy.

You’ve been warned.

Shrimp & Crawfish Etouffe

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 small green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 fresh medium-size tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 2 pounds crawfish tails
  • 2 pounds small/medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, keep stirring with a whisk until the mixture turns reddish-brown (15 or 20 minutes – this is a “roux” for those that don’t cook southern/cajun). *Note: This must be stirred constantly and watched carefully because if it burns you have to start over.
  2. Once the roux is browned, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper to the skillet. Cook until onions are opaque and soft, approximately 5 minutes. Keep stirring!
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and clam juice, and season with the Old Bay seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper, and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.

Serve hot over white rice. And don’t forget to put the hot sauce on the table!

Recipe Notes:

– For a smoother base, blend or puree the mixture BEFORE adding shrimp and crawfish.
– This dish is EXTREMELY SPICY. If you aren’t used to heavy spice, leave out the cayenne pepper and cut the Tabasco back to 1 tablespoon. Taste it, and if you want more of a kick, add Tabasco by teaspoons. (Cooking for the hubby means no Tabasco or cayenne…the Old Bay is spice enough for him.)
– If you’re not a celery eater, substitute 2 tsp celery seed for the celery stalks. I personally don’t cook with celery because my husband doesn’t like the texture.
– If you don’t eat crawfish or it’s out of season, feel free to double up on the shrimp. It’s great either way. Also, if you aren’t a shellfish person, this works well with chicken or gator. Yes, Alligator. Yes, I eat it. It tastes like chicken. I’m serious.

If you decide to make it, let me know how it turns out. I’m always curious to see what others do with my recipes!

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