Comfort Food Favorites Fish & Seafood Kitchen Main Dish One Pot Meal Shrimp Soup & Stew Valentine's Day

Authentic Shrimp Étouffée

By Lan Capell

Bring Mardi Gras to your home with this authentic Shrimp Étouffée recipe.

This recipe gets its authentic Cajun flavors from Dizzy Pig’s Bayou-ish blackening seasoning. We took it up a notch by making our own homemade shrimp stock and caramelizing the Cajun holy trinity (of onions, celery and bell pepper). It takes some time, but it’s worth the effort as it transports us back to Louisiana every time!

If you don’t have the time, or inclination, to make shrimp stock, chicken broth will work just fine. And although Étouffée is typically made with seafood, chicken or other white meat will be equally tasty.


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  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp (with heads if making shrimp stock – can be found in most Asian grocery store)
  • 2 cups shrimp stock or chicken broth

Shrimp Stock (optional)

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (green is more traditional, red is more colorful)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Dizzy Pig Bayou-ish blackening seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp New Mexico chile powder (or cayenne powder if you like it spicy)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of sugar


  • Thinly sliced scallions and parsley (or coriander)



  1. Rinse whole shrimp in cold water a couple times until clean.
  2. Peel shrimp, reserving the heads and shells if making shrimp stock. Refrain from rinsing out the orange/liquidy matter in the heads, as this is where a lot of the rich flavor is from.
  3. Devein shrimp. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Dice the onions, celery and bell peppers. You should have a roughly 1:1:1 equal ratio of this holy trinity of Cajun cooking.

Shrimp Stock (optional)

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp canola oil in a sauce pan over high heat.
  2. Add bay leaves, shrimp shells and heads, and saute until the shells and heads are bright orange and the heads are soft.
  3. Add the chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Press down on the shrimp heads with a a wooden spoon or spatula to extract their flavor. A potato masher works well here too.
  5. Let the shrimp stock simmer for 10-15 minutes more.
  6. Remove from heat and strain the liquid into a measuring cup. You should have about 2 cups of shrimp stock. Set aside.


  1. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large non-stick saucepan.
  2. Saute the garlic quickly until lightly fragrant, from 30 seconds to a minute.
  3. Add onions, celery and bell pepper, and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add flour and salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add Bayou-ish, paprika, and New Mexico chile (or cayenne if using).
  6. Stirring frequently, cook until the roux is well caramelized for best flavor. This will take about 30 minutes.


  1. Incorporate the shrimp stock (or chicken broth) into the roux. To prevent lumps, do this by gradually pouring the stock in with one hand while stirring briskly with the other hand.
  2. Add black pepper and sugar, and cook mixture for 5 minutes. Adjust with more salt and Bayou-ish as desired.
  3. Add shrimp and cook just until done.
  4. Serve with rice, and garnish with scallions and parsley. If desired, mix the rice with oil and parsley/coriander.