Pirate’s Pantry: Treasured Recipes of Southwest Louisiana

Jr. League Crawfish Étouffée

Étouffée means “smothered” in French and, in most recipes, crawfish (or shrimp) and vegetables are smothered in a medium-brown roux. Étouffée can be made without a roux — it’s just thinner. Some people add RO*TEL tomatoes; others consider that blasphemous. Several contributors to the Facebook group Cajun Recipes have mentioned adding canned cream soup to their étouffée. Cream of Mushroom is the most popular, though Golden Mushroom, Cream of Shrimp, Cream of Chicken and Cream of Celery, and combinations thereof, are also used. Rouses Corporate Chef Marc Ardoin says that when you add cream to étouffée, technically, it’s no longer étouffée. But just like gumbo, everyone has a preference.

This dish appears in Pirate’s Pantry: Treasured Recipes of Southwest Louisiana from the Junior League of Lake Charles.


  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 pound crawfish tails (or shrimp) peeled
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • Pinch thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Hot fluffy rice
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sliced green onion tops


  1. Melt margarine in a deep, heavy frying pan. Do not use a black iron pot; it will discolor the crawfish.
  2. Add crawfish and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove crawfish with slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add onion, celery, bell pepper and seasonings. Saute for at least 10 minutes, removing bay leaf after about 5 minutes.
  4. Return crawfish tails to pan and add chicken broth. Stir and cook slowly, covered, for about 40 minutes. Serve over boiled rice and sprinkle with parsley and green onion tops.