Shrimp Étouffée

Alrighty... now that i got the explanation of the cajun trinity out of the way with my last post, I give you one of the most delicious dishes i've ever applied it to, shrimp étouffée.

Étouffée is an awesome creole dish, basically a really rich sauce to be served over rice, kind of like a gumbo. Like most creole dishes, it's got a ton of french influence (I mean, just look at those crazy accents on the Es). If you were actually in Louisiana enjoying this dish, it would typically have crawfish instead of shrimp, but I couldn't find any crawfish this day, so shrimp it was. (Also good with shredded chicken for you non-shellfish people.)

I've seen a ton of different recipes for étouffée (and they all look good), but i've chosen to blend a few of them together and make it nice and simple. I also had to put an unnecessary latin twist on it by using poblano peppers instead of bell peppers... cause that's just what i do. Anyway, let's dive in.

1 1/2 lbs. fresh shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup butter
1 medium yellow onion
2 stalks of celery
1 large poblano pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/3 cup
(serves 2 hungry people)

Toss the shrimp with the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Cover and place in the refrigerator.

Mince up the garlic, onions, poblanos and celery. I started with about twice the ingredients listed, but what you really want to end up with is about a cup of each of the 3 items in the cajun trinity.

In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt half of the butter and add the garlic and onions. Saute the onions until they are soft and nearly translucent (about 10 minutes)

Stir in the celery and poblanos and crank up the heat to high. Saute the trinity for another 20 minutes or so over high heat. (This might also be a good time to get the rice started.)

Add the remaining quarter cup of butter and bring the whole mix to a boil, then mix in the shrimp.

Reduce the heat back down to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch and water together and slowly pour it into the pot

Cook on medium-low heat until it is a bit reduced, and the celery is nice and soft. Don't rush this part, cook it too hot and you'll overcook the shrimp. Keep it on the low end of medium and try to keep the shrimp themselves off the bottom of the pot if you're not gonna stir vigilantly. Takes about 20 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste, and serve over rice! 

I'm definitely going to have to find some more creole dishes to make...  this was incredibly good.

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