Étouffée of any variety is a given this time of year. This langostino étouffée recipe is a twist on the traditional crawfish. Langostino are sweet and buttery and they pair really well with the flavors in this meal. The trinity – bell pepper, onion and celery are the base of this dish that is perfect for Mardi Gras.
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
Why you should make this recipe
- Special occasion – This easy recipe is perfect for Mardi Gras.
- Perfect for gatherings – It makes enough for 6 people, but you can easily double it for a larger crowd.
- Versatile – Adjust the spice and seasonings to suit your preferences. Make it less spicy, or add extra heat. You can add shrimp as well to bulk it up, especially if you have many mouths to feed.
Whether you choose shrimp, crawfish or langostino, you can’t go wrong with this New Orleans classic. There are endless variations of this dish. Like this langostino chowder recipe, it is a twist on a recipe everyone knows and loves.
If you’ve been intimidated in the past to make this, let me assure you, it is much less daunting than you might think. It is absolutely full of flavor and with “Fat Tuesday” right around the corner, there’s no time like the present!
Turn the leftover étouffée into this langostino empanada recipe. Tuck a scoop into a buttery dough and bake for a delicious snack.
Cajun vs Creole
This Cajun langostino recipe is a favorite during this time of year. Cajun cuisine comes from south Louisiana and you’ll see plenty of stews and one pot meals, like this étouffée.
There are many similarities between Cajun and Creole food, as they are both from Louisiana, but there are some distinct differences. Roux being one of them. A roux is simply a mixture of fat and flour cooked together to thicken a dish.
A Creole roux is usually made with butter and flour, while a Cajun roux is most often oil or lard and flour. That being said, I prefer the flavor of butter, so that’s what I use.
If you have a preference for one or the other, use what you like. It may not be “traditional”, but what matters is making food that is delicious to you.
The stages of cooking a roux
The first step is making the roux. A roux is equal parts fat and flour by WEIGHT. The longer it cooks, the less thickening power it has. However, it develops more flavor, which is what we want.
There are four stages of a roux.
The first is white. This has no color and is basically just the fat and flour cooked together for a few minutes. It has virtually no flavor, but it is a great thickener. Let the roux go a bit longer and it becomes a blond roux. It is, as the name suggests, slightly golden, but still no real flavor.
As the roux continues to cook and deepen in color, it becomes a less effective thickener. This is worth noting as we continue cooking it for the étouffée.
The third stage, and the one we are looking for, is a brown roux. It should be similar to the color of peanut butter. At this stage, the roux is toasty and nutty. It has developed some flavor and still has good thickening power.
The last is a dark brown roux and that is close to the color of chocolate. It will be slightly bitter and has the least amount of thickening power.
Looking at this ingredient list might be daunting, but don’t let it scare you off. Most of these are common pantry ingredients and spices you have in the cabinet.
- Seafood stock – This is the backbone of the recipe. You can use store-bought or make your own.
- Celery, onion, green pepper – Known as the holy trinity in Cajun cooking.
- Garlic – It gives this stew a flavor that I can’t do without and there is a lot of it.
- Parsley and scallions – Fresh herbs always perk up a dish. They give it a freshness that you don’t get from dried herbs.
- Butter + Flour – These two ingredients form the roux, which thickens the langostino étouffée.
- Langostino – This sweet and buttery seafood pairs perfectly with the flavors in this dish.
- Lemon and white wine – Both of these ingredients add more flavor to the étouffée and the acid in the lemon juice brightens up this stew.
- Spices – Kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper and dried thyme.
- Canned tomatoes – If you are not a fan, you can omit them, but I love the flavor that diced tomatoes give to the étouffée.
How to make étouffée
As with any and all recipes, read it through before you begin. Gather all of your ingredients and measure everything ahead of time. This is your “mise-en-place“. You want to make sure you have everything you need BEFORE you begin.
- Combine butter and flour and cook the roux.
- Once the roux is at the peanut butter stage, add the veggies and spices. Cook them until they are soft.
- Add the stock, tomatoes & wine and simmer.
- Finally, add the langostinos, fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice.
The langostinos will go in last, because they don’t require cooking. They will give off a little liquid once you add them to the pot.
If you are tempted to add more stock, wait until the langostinos have been added to the étouffée before you add additional liquid. You may find that the liquid released from the langostinos is all you need and adding more stock would make the étouffée too thin.
Ladle that goodness into a bowl with some white rice and dig in!
Langostino étouffée Q&A
Absolutely! Make the étouffée the day before, but do not add langostinos. Reheat and add langostinos when it is warm. If cooked for too long, delicate langostino tails will fall apart.
You can absolutely freeze étouffée. Store the cooled étouffée in airtight containers in the freezer for up to 3 months.
It will last up to 5 – 7 days in the fridge, if stored properly in an airtight container. Store in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
Variations and substitutions
This langostino version of étouffée is a twist on a more traditional crawfish or shrimp. You can add extra seafood to bulk it up when serving a crowd.
Adjust all of the spices to your personal preference – make it more or less spicy to suit your taste.
You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free flour.
Serve with plenty of white rice and a bottle of hot sauce on the table for those who like their food extra spicy.
I also like pickled okra on the table, because the vinegar from the brine is a great palate cleanser!
Helpful tools and equipment
- Enameled cast iron Dutch oven – This Lodge brand Dutch oven is a great deal and it will last you forever.
- A Chef’s knife – a sharp knife is the workhorse in the kitchen and this is the same knife I have had for 20 years.
- Shallow bowls – I like serving the étouffée in shallow bowls like these.
More recipes for Mardi Gras:
- Langostino Po’boys
- Langostino gumbo
- Cajun langostino pasta
- Bread pudding
- Raspberry cream cheese king cake
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars!
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- 4 tablespoons butter (or oil)
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal - see note)
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- pinch crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp. dried thyme, or 2 sprigs fresh
- 3 cups shrimp stock, or seafood stock - store bought or homemade (recipe below)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes, optional but recommended
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, optional but recommended
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pounds langostinos
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Cooked white rice, for serving
For the Shrimp Stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds shrimp shells
- 1 onion
- 4 stalks celery
- 1 carrot
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 6 cups water
- In a Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot, melt butter over medium - medium high heat (or add oil). Add flour and whisk to combine. (This is a roux).
- Continue cooking the roux for 10-12 minutes, whisking frequently, until it is a light brown (peanut butter) color.
- Lower heat to medium and add garlic, onion, celery, green bell pepper, salt, black pepper, cayenne, crushed red pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently for 10 - 12 minutes, until vegetables have started to soften.
- Add stock, tomatoes, wine (if using), and bay leaves. Cook for an additional 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot when stirring.
- Add langostinos, lemon juice, scallions and parsley. Stir to combine, let it simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with white rice.
Homemade shrimp stock
- Heat olive oil in a large pot, add shrimp shells and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add everything except water and give it a stir. Let it cook for another 4 - 5 minutes, then cover with the water and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat, strain and cool. Freeze remaining stock for up to 3 months.
- Wine adds a nice depth to your étouffée.
- If using Morton's salt, cut the amount by almost half.
- Roux = equal parts fat and flour by WEIGHT. The longer a roux cooks, the less thickening power it has, but it develops more flavor, which is what we want. For this roux, we are aiming for more than a blond roux, but not past a brown roux. It should be similar to the color of peanut butter.
- I have seen a few recipes calling for creole or cajun spice. If you read the ingredient list, it is salt, pepper, garlic, cayenne and red pepper flakes. You likely have all of these ingredients in your pantry, and they are probably fresher than the jar of spice blend at the store.
- Onions, celery and bell pepper are the "holy trinity". They are the base for many dishes in this part of the country. Mirepoix (onion, celery, carrots) is the French version & also the base to almost every single soup recipe.
- Buying the seafood stock will cut your prep time by 30 minutes
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 591Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 510mgSodium: 3202mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 5gSugar: 13gProtein: 62g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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