Crawfish Etouffée

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Crawfish Etouffée

Étoufée means “smothered or stewed” in French.  This popular Cajun dish is a classic example of slow cooking seafood to perfection.  There are as many étoufée recipes as there are gumbo recipes.  What the really good ones have in common is the very first step in the process……making the roux. The roux imparts a nutty, browned flour taste to the broth of this stew and if this step is bypassed, you will merely be making an ordinary fish soup with much less depth of flavor.

There is an art to making roux and knowing when to “kill” the browning action just short of burning it, which gives it an unpleasant, bitter taste.  If it burns, you just have to toss it out and start again.  I’ve burned it one time in hundreds of batches, so once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite easy to know exactly when to kill the browning action!

This Louisiana favorite has long been in my recipe files.  Had to tweak the roux making process to meet Atkins guidelines, but otherwise, my recipe is unchanged.  CarbQuick is only acceptable in OWL.  If you’re still on Induction, you could omit the roux process entirely (leaving out the CarbQuick) and at the end of cooking, thicken with successive light dustings of xanthan gum.  Won’t be as good, but OK if you crave this during Induction. 🙂

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2 T. CarbQuick bake mix (I have since learned oat fiber works and for much lower carbs)

2 T. oil of your choice

1 c. chopped yellow onion

½ c. chopped green onion

1 c. chopped celery

1 c. chopped green pepper

2 cloves minced garlic

½ c. chopped parsley

4 coarsely chopped, seeded small Roma tomatoes

12 oz. crawfish tails

1½ c. seafood stock or chicken broth

1 tsp. my Seafood Spice Blend

¼ tsp. each salt, black  and cayenne pepper

½ stick butter

10 drops Tobasco to start (more to taste)

DIRECTIONS:  Chop the yellow onion, celery and bell pepper and have it at the ready by your stove.  I use my non-stick wok for this but any large skillet will do.  Heat oil and add CarbQuick.  Whisk constantly on high heat.    You want to brown the roux as dark brown as you can get it without it getting black (burned).  This can burn in the blink of an eye once it gets really hot, so absolutely DO NOT get distracted or walk away from the stove while making a roux!    The second it gets to a dark brown color, immediately dump the chopped vegetables in the pan to drop the temperature of the mix and halt further cooking.  Now you can relax and continue to put the dish together leisurely.

Place the half stick of butter in the pan and saute the veggies until the onion begins to get soft and caramelizes a bit.  When this is  for company, I have to confess I usually put a WHOLE stick of butter in this dish, but only the 1/2 is calculated in nutritional info below.  When onion is caramelized,  add all remaining ingredients  except the green onion.  This should be added just minutes before serving as you want in only partially cooked.  Cover and simmer on lowest heat about 1-2 hours.  You’ll know when it’s done, because it isn’t until it tastes good!  Add green onions, cook 5 minutes longer.    I like to dust with xanthan gum several times, stirring between each addition, to slightly thicken if the roux didn’t do the job. Serve in bowls like soup or stew, with a green salad and your favorite low-carb dinner rolls.

Traditionally this seafood stew is served with a big scoop of rice in the center (not allowed until the grain rung of OWL).  If you are already near or at goal weight, brown rice would be a healthy choice.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 4 servings, each containing:

290 calories

20.18 g  fat

13.88 g  carbs, 4.38 g  fiber, 9.50 NET CARBS (5.50 net carbs using oat fiber for the roux)

17.63 g  protein

approx. 700 mg. sodium

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