There are about a million and one recipes for this dish and a million of them are good. Here is a very simple personal favorite that uses a roux that you make. I also have roux-less recipes that cut the cooking time in half and come out just about as good, but there is a certain satisfaction derived from making a very good roux that turns into a very good etouffee. I can post the roux-less later if anyone is interested.
cantcook's disclaimer. I do not measure when I cook nor do I write down recipes. Any recipe that I post is from memory and I will approximate the measurements to the best of my ability.
1/2 cup butter or cooking oil ( I will also add 1/2 teaspoon of bacon drippings to this if I have them on hand),
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
4 dashes of garlic powder, or to taste
4 dashes of black pepper
salt to taste
1 can of chicken broth
1 tablespoon parsley
1-2 pounds crawfish tails (shrimp can be substituted)
2 dashes hot sauce
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (this dish is flavorful but NOT supposed to be hot, so don't overdo it!)
a pot of cooked rice
Before you start your roux go ahead and saute your vegetables with the seasonings in just a little butter or oil. Use only enough to saute them for 5 or 6 minutes and then set them aside.
To sart your roux heat your sauce pan (if you have cast iron USE IT) over medium low - medium heat. Once hot add your butter and let heat, then add your flour, stirring constantly. You want to cook your roux to a nice dark color being very careful not to burn. You will notice that it starts to turn a nice peanut butter color and you are abot halfway there. If you don't stir it like you should and you get any burnt flecks in it, throw it out and start over. When your roux is nice and dark start to slowly add chicken broth. I find that it mixes best if you pull the roux away from the middle and pour the broth in there and let heat for a few seconds. Just add a little at a time and then let your roux heat back up before adding more. once you have all the chicken broth added stir in 1/2 cup water and keep some more handy in case you need to thin it out some more. Add the sauted vegetables and the crawfish tails and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. When done the desired consistency is that of a medium thick gravy. It will run off your spoon, but not really pour out I guess.
Serve over rice with a green salad and french bread on the side.
If you like a nice presentation, take a round bottomed tea cup, fill with water and pour it out. You are just wetting the inside so the rice won't stick. Fill the cup with rice then turn it upside down in the middle of a bowl, spoon the etouffee over the rice and it will make a little rice island that looks cool.
For a variation thats not easy on the wallet, spoon lump crab meat over the top of the rice and etouffee. MMMMMMMMM GOOOD.