Here's a classic version of this Creole favorite, just in time for Lent. Similar to the crawfish variety, shrimp étouffée is generally lighter, as crawfish tails are packed in their own fat. The recipe is of the straightforward "first you make a roux" Louisiana variety. Just be sure to take the time to finely chop the vegetables (or adjust the cooking times up), and taste carefully to ensure the sauce is spicy/salty enough to serve over rice.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons flour
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chicken/beef/vegetable stock
1 cup water
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (+ more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds peeled & deveined shrimp
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Make a roux. Melt the butter in the olive oil over low heat, add the flour, and stir slowly but continuously until you have a medium brown roux, ~20 minutes. (You can make the roux darker or lighter roux, if you have a personal preference.)
When the roux is the desired shade of brown, remove from heat and add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic all at once. Stir rapidly to stop browning the roux.
Return the pan to heat, stir in the tomato paste, and raise heat to medium. Cook until the vegetables are fragrant and softened, 5 minutes or so.
Add the stock and water, then bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Add the bay leaves, thyme, chile powder, cayenne, salt, and black pepper.
Cook at a low simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste, and add more salt and cayenne as needed.
Add the shrimp, green onions, and parsley. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are done.
Remove from heat and let stand off heat for 20-30 minutes.
Serve over rice.