I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty cold where I am. And I’m down in Tennessee so if it’s cold for me, I know it’s lot colder for many others. When the temperatures get down this low all I want to eat are warm and comforting foods. I crave thick soups and stews or pot roast or chicken and dumplings. But it’s also January, and while I didn’t specifically make a New Year’s resolution to go on a diet, I definitely overindulged over the holidays and have been trying to eat better this month.
Thankfully, Cooking Light came to the rescue with their Comfort Food cookbook that I bought recently. Their Shrimp Etouffee is just the kind of warm and comforting dinner that I want when it’s below freezing outside but I can also feel good about eating it since the recipe has been lightened.
And the best part is that it doesn’t taste remotely low fat. It’s full of bold flavors and spices that will warm you from the inside out. I also like that the recipe still starts with a roux which makes it taste very authentic. If you’ve never made a roux before, it’s a simple mixture of butter and flour that forms base of this stew, thickening it as well as adding a depth of flavor. I had never made a real, cook-until-it’s-dark-brown, roux before this. It was a little intimidating at first since I was convinced it was burning, but in the end everything turned out fine. You shouldn’t worry either. It’s supposed to get that dark! In the recipe notes I linked to a nice set of photos that someone took of their roux as it cooked so you can see for yourself.
The ingredients list may be long but this Shrimp Etouffee recipe is a lot easier than it looks. The most time consuming parts are chopping up all the vegetables (which you could do ahead of time) and making the roux, otherwise you just need to add in ingredients and stir occasionally. At about an hour, it may not be the fastest dinner to make, but it’s definitely worth the time.
Dinner | Servings: 6
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 1 hour
- 4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup (about 2.25 oz.) flour
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 2/3 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. salt-free Cajun seasoning
- 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 1 lb. medium shrimp (about 30), peeled and deveined
- 4 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
- Add chicken broth, thyme, basil and the bay leaf to a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to simmer. Cover and remove from heat.
- Not sure if your roux is done? Check out these photos of a roux from start to finish. Melt 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook about 8 to 10 minutes, whisking constantly. The roux should be a very brown mahogany color. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup of the broth mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining broth mixture until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, melt 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of butter (I increased this to 2 tbsp.) over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onions are golden brown. Stir in water, scraping the pan to loosen any browned bits.
- Add tomato paste, cajun seasoning, garlic, salt and both ground peppers. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Stir in the reserved roux-broth mixture and Worcestershire sauce; bring to simmer. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add green onions, 1/4 cup parsley and shrimp. Cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Discard bay leaf.
Serve over cooked rice. Sprinkle with remaining parsley, if desired.
Serving size: About 1 1/4 cups étouffée and 2/3 cup rice