TGIF…Wow, what a week.
It was one of those weeks that just never seemed to end. The stacks of paper grew and the phone messages piled up. By 5 o’clock every day I was exhausted and just wanted to go home and veg. And I did every night! Just when I thought I was going to have a clear desk at the end of the day a couple pieces of paper decided they would copulate and give birth to a whole new brood of work. Will it never end?! Oh well, it’s the weekend! Woo!
I think a lot of people’s idea of relaxation after a long day (or week!) at work is probably going home, kicking their feet up and having the delivery guy bring them dinner. I have no problem with that really. Some nights I just wheel through the drive-thru and pick up something quick and mindless. Unfortunately, my body gives me a guilt trip after that and I’m left even more disgruntled and unsatisfied than before. My perfect relaxation after a hard day at work is to get in the kitchen and take my frustrations out on an innocent vegetable or two. I could take the easy way out and just whip up some scrambled eggs or make a little pasta but tonight I’m in the mood to cook. I mean really cook. I need the rhythmic slicing and dicing of vegetables, the comforting sound of a sizzling pan.
I crave hot, steaming bowls of comfort food when I’ve had a stressful week. Sometimes that’s a big bowl of pasta or soup but tonight that means one of my favorites, Shrimp Etouffee.
étouf·fée: : a Cajun stew of shellfish or chicken served over rice
Since Mardi Gras is upon us and Fat Tuesday is just days away I’ve got a craving for Cajun spice!
Great etouffee takes patience, don’t force it. Patience isn’t something I normally have but as I stirred the roux, mixed in the vegetables, enjoyed a Hurricane and read a book while letting things simmer, I felt all the stresses and cares of the week melt away.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chopped onions
- 2 cups chopped green bell peppers
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)
- 1 quart shrimp stock (homemade if possible)
- 3 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Steamed white rice, for serving
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or deep skillet set over medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously to make roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until the color of peanut butter, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic to the roux, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pot and season with bay leaves, salt, cayenne and 1 tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning. Cook the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes and then add shrimp stock, stirring until smooth.
Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook the stew, stirring occassionally, for 45 minutes.
Season the shrimp with the remaining tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and add them to the pot. Cook the shrimp for 5-7 minutes or until they are cooked through. Add the chopped parsley and stir to combine.
Serve immediately over steamed white rice.
Source: adapted from – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/shrimp-etouffee-recipe/index.html
Your patience will be rewarded. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
New Orleans Hurricane
- 2 oz. dark rum (give or take, depending on what kind of week you had!)
- 3 oz. orange juice
- 3 oz. pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz. grenadine
Mix all ingredients together (shake or stir) and serve over ice in a hurricane glass. Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry if desired.
I’m thinking beignets and cafe au lait for breakfast, yummy!