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Crawfish Étouffée, To Etouffée Is To Smother

  • Author: Louisiana Woman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


This recipe of smothered crawfish or shrimp in a buttery white sauce is flavored with the Cajun trinity and a kick of cayenne. The étouffée is served over rice and enjoyed as one of the favored classic Southern Louisiana dishes.



2 sticks (1 cup) real butter

2 cups chopped onion

1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon chopped celery

1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon chopped bell pepper

2 large cloves garlic, pressed

1/2 cup cornstarch

2 pounds fresh or frozen crawfish or shrimp (peeled and cleaned)

1 teaspoon salt

3/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more


parsley, chopped; optional


Melt butter in a heavy saucepan.

Add vegetables and cook on medium heat until onions are clear, about 10-15 minutes.

Do not brown.

Add cornstarch, cook for 5 minutes stirring often.

Before you add the crawfish or shrimp, pass your hand through them removing any pieces of shell or black veins.

Stir the shellfish into the cornstarch and vegetable mixture.

Add salt and pepper stirring well then add a little water, about 1/4 cup at a time, until it is the consistency of a thick gravy. 

Adjust heat to let simmer covered on medium to medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add a small amount of water if gravy needs thinning.

Sprinkled with chopped parsley and stir. Serve over cooked rice.


The amount of water added may vary each time you make this recipe depending on the crawfish or shrimp. Some crawfish and shrimp have more water in them than others.

  • Category: Seafood
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