Wise to the Word: Etouffee

Saimi Rote Bergmann

Etouffee (eh too FAY)

Popular Cajun stew, rich and spicy. Recipes vary wildly. Some call for chopped tomatoes or green onions, others say add fresh parsley. Some recipes start with sautéing onions, celery and green pepper, while some, like this one, start with a roux (roo).

Barb Trahan, an instructor at the New Orleans School of Cooking, cooks her roux of butter and flour until it’s dark brown.

“The darker the roux, the more flavor,” she said.

Then she adds the “trinity” -- onions, celery and green pepper. At the end, she stirs in the crawfish. If you don’t have crawfish, you can substitute shrimp.

Trahan says it serves 8, but that would have to be 8 starving lumberjacks.


1 cup flour

1 cup butter (or oil)

4 cups chopped onions

2 cups chopped celery

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 cups chicken stock

2 pounds crawfish tails (or shrimp, or lobster)

2 teaspoons Joe’s Stuff * (or other Cajun seasoning blend)

Add flour to the hot butter or oil to make a dark, milk chocolate-colored roux, stirring constantly. Add seasoning blend to the roux, along with onions, celery, green pepper and garlic.

In another pop with piping hot chicken stock, stir in roux and vegetables gradually until well blended. Cook for 20 minutes over medium heat.

Add crawfish and cook an additional 10 minutes. If desired, add chopped green onions and parsley 5 minutes before serving. Serve alone or over rice.

Makes 8 servings.

* Named for the founder of the New Orleans School of Cooking. Available at