Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shrimp Etouffee

Ever been to New Orleans?

I visited friends there a couple of times in college. The beauty of the city and the rich culture is heavenly. Of course, the food is amazing. I remember being introduced to Domilise's-a hidden jewel-by biting into that first fresh-crunchy-flavorful bit of their shrimp po-boy. A funny memory was going to Nawlins in junior high with my church youth choir. We didn't have too much structure on our downtime at night, but the adult sponsors detoured us past a little street called Bourbon. Of course, we still managed to find the Voodoo museum and freak each other out with the fortune tellers and characters around the Quarter. My first ride on the streetcars was awesome and full of sweltering heat while gazing at gorgeous historical homes. And forget Cafe du Monde when you can have PJ's. (Okay, don't forget du Monde but try the other amazing beignet and coffee places, too!) And there's a couple of other restaurants that I shall not share because they're just too good. Sorry. If we ever go there on a trip together, I will show you the best french toast in the world and the best etouffee you've shoveled in your mouth. Trust me.

Back to Texas and homemade etouffee in our little kitchen.  

Shrimp Etouffee

Now I've mentioned here before that my grandmother was from Natchez-by-way-of-Meridian, Mississippi. Nothing made her happier than fried catfish and cornmuffins (no one calls it cornbread there...no one). Now she did love an occasional bowl of gumbo or crawfish etouffee, but she also knew how much butter and grams of fat are in the genuine versions. So I hope she would have liked Matt and my healthier--yet still tasty--version.

4 TB butter
1 medium yellow onion
2 TB white flour
2 zucchini, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 green peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 celery bunch, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium can of diced tomatoes (no chilies)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 TB Tony Chachere's
1 teaspoon chili powder
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 pound shrimp (or 1 pound crab, or combo), rinsed and deveined

In a saute pan, heat butter on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and let cook. Once onion is soft, add the flour, stirring until all lumps are removed. Now transfer to a crock pot for slow cooking (or leave in the pan if you are in a hurry).

The following uses a crock pot/slow cooker:

Combine zucchini, green peppers, celery and chicken broth to pot. Add the Tony Chachere's and chili powder. Cover and let cook on High heat for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Reduce heat to Medium and add shrimp/crab. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes. (Be careful not to overcook as the shrimp will become rubbery in texture.)

If you want deeper spice and flavor, add more Chachere's and chili powder and let simmer on Low for 15 additional minutes.

Serve over brown rice or with lots of crusty sourdough bread (and butter). Add Tabasco for extra kick.

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