Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Most of us aren’t going to be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras next week. Let the flavors in this recipe take you on a virtual vacation! This easy-to-put-together dinner is complements of the magazine, Family Circle. I came across the recipe in the “Healthy Family 2012” section of their February issue and thought it looked different enough to change up my usual weekly meals but not too far out of my comfort zone. The ingredients are familiar and may even be in your kitchen already. I happened to have some Cajun seasoning from another recipe I tried a while back so I didn’t need to make a trip to the store.
I learned something new from this recipe, a few things actually. An “etouffee” is a seafood dish thicker than a gumbo which is often served over rice. Doesn’t it sound fancy? Not bad for a weeknight’s dinner. The second bit I learned while following the ingredients was a new way to make a roux. In my limited experience a roux starts with butter and flour and is used to thicken a sauce. This roux, though, called for OIL and flour. I looked this up online and learned that the oil and flour combination is common in Cajun cooking, while the butter and flour duo is from Italian cooking. The oil gives the roux a darker, almost reddish-brown color and adds more depth of flavor while the butter is said to help more with thickening the sauce. I was hesitant to start off a meal on the “Healthy Family” page with a ¼ cup of oil but it turned out just fine.
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 large green pepper (I used a red pepper instead)
1 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (8 ounce) tomato sauce
3 TB Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 ¾ pound large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
½ cup parsley (I omitted this as I didn’t have it in my kitchen)
3 cups cooked rice
Lemon wedges, if desired
1. I used a Dutch oven to start the roux. Bring the oil and flour together to a boil, whisking continuously for 5 minutes. The roux starts to darken-- you are looking for a reddish-brown color.
2. Add onion, pepper, celery and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes then stir in the tomato sauce and 1 cup of water, the Worcestershire sauce and the Cajun seasoning. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Add the thawed shrimp (I started with frozen) and simmer another 4-5 minutes. Stir in parsley if you have it.
4. Serve over rice.
This was a delicious meal, particularly for only cooking for 30 minutes or so. It would be even faster if you happened to have your vegetables chopped ahead of time. There were only two of us eating this dinner so we had leftovers. I am going to doctor them up tonight into something similar to gumbo by adding some cooked sausage, chopped tomatoes and broth.
Thanks to Family Circle for this recipe.