Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Best Shrimp and Sausage Etouffee...I Garontee!

It's hard enough to pull a meal together under normal circumstances, but when you've just gotten home from church and you have hungry men hanging around asking if you have "Hor-D-Vores", it can be a little nerve-wracking! I tried to plan a menu for this year's Mother's Day luncheon that could be done ahead of time. It worked, and it didn't. But regardless of how and when it came together, it was really good. I mean REALLY good. I got compliments all around, but my brother, Jon, actually said it was the best thing I've ever made! Thank you, sir!

Mother's Day Menu 2015

Sausage and Shrimp Etouffee
White Rice
Corn on the Cob
Lemon-Iced Angel Food Cake

I knew I needed something that would cook itself in the crockpot so I could focus on other things, so I chose to do a sausage and shrimp etouffee. I ended up combining a couple of recipes, but it turned out really good! I have to warn you, it wasn't cheap. But it was Mother's Day and it did feed 14 people!

Sausage and Shrimp Etouffee
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chopped Vidalia or yellow onion
1/2 cup bell pepper (I used orange for the color and sweetness)
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
1 bunch green onions, slivered
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (8 oz) bottle clam juice
1 (14.5 oz) can original Rotel tomatoes (with juices)
1 1/2 pounds of small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 package Conecuh hickory smoked sausage

Begin by making a roux with the oil and flour. Cook this low and slow and continue to stir. You want it to be about the color of caramel - or my coffee! Not gonna lie - this took about 30 minutes. You have to develop this dark color without burning your roux. It goes a lot faster after this!

Once the roux is done, add your onion, bell pepper and celery. (These should already be chopped so you can mind your roux.) Cook the vegetables in the roux for about 10 minutes. The water content in the veggies will keep the roux from burning. The veggies should begin to soften, but will finish cooking later.

This is the vegetable and roux mixture below.
It looks like a sticky mess, but don't worry.
It will loosen up when you add the liquids.

Add the green onions, celery, garlic and seasonings and cook for a couple of minutes, until you begin to smell the garlic. Add the tomatoes and clam juice and stir well. (After I added the tomatoes and BEFORE I added the clam juice, I pulled some out for my SIL who is allergic to seafood. She had sausage only. Also - be sure not to go back and forth stirring them with the same spoon!) Bring it to a boil, then reduce to simmer. At this point, I added my sausage. I wanted the sausage to cook slowly in a simmer and not get tough.

(You see two packages, because I doubled my recipe.)

At this point, I put it in crockpots and cooked it on low during church (about four hours total). The shrimp is not added until the end because you don't want it to get rubbery. This is where I encountered trouble. I waited until 30 minutes before we were supposed to eat to add the shrimp. Normally, I would add shrimp to a stove-top dish about 5 minutes before eating. When I added the shrimp to the crockpots, it lowered the temp drastically. It took more like 45 minutes for the temp to rise enough to cook the shrimp. Next time, I will add it an hour before we eat.

Other than that, it was a total success! I cooked white rice and we put that in our bowls before spooning the etouffe on top. It.was.divine. And my house smelled incredible!

This is definitely a special occasion dish. It's a little expensive and it takes a little care to get it going, but it was definitely worth it! I hope you'll try it soon and let me know what you think.

Y'all ever watch the old Cajun chef Justin Wilson on PBS? Well, he'd be proud, I GARONTEE!

Tomorrow I'll share my recipe for out of this world hush puppies!


I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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