Pappadeaux Crawfish Etouffee Recipe

Rich, spicy, and delicious, one of the most iconic dishes from Creole and Cajun cuisine is undoubtedly crawfish etouffee. 

Somewhere between a stew and a gravy served over rice, crawfish etouffee was once a hidden gem produced in hole-in-the-wall kitchens deep in the Louisiana Bayou, but came bursting into the mainstream at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. 

Pappadeaux’s is primarily located in the Southeastern United States, so if you don’t have the good fortune to try their crawfish etouffee in person, with a little bit of patience and simple technique, you can easily make it at home! 

How to make Pappadeaux Crawfish Etouffee 

The key to making an outstanding crawfish etouffee is patience, and a technique called smothering. Smothering involves sauteing vegetables and meat low and slow until they start breaking down in their own liquid.

The goal is to “sweat” the vegetables to amplify their flavors with minimal to no browning. If done correctly, the veggies will release their moisture and become impossibly tender.  

You’ll want to use a large cast-iron skillet or deep saute pan with a heavy bottom to make the etouffee. 

Once the veggies start breaking down, you’ll make a simple roux in the pan before adding in the crawfish and stock. Try to use a fish or shrimp stock, but chicken stock works as well. 

For ease, this recipe calls for frozen crawfish through fresh works too! Crawfish season runs from November to July, so if you prefer fresh crawfish, ask your local fishmonger to order it for you. 

As with gumbo and jambalaya, Pappadeaux crawfish etouffee uses cajun seasoning, and the gold standard is Slap Ya Mama, though making your own is very easy to do! The other spices are pantry staples. 

From start to finish, this recipe takes approximately 1 hour but is well worth it. When the etouffee is thick and ready, ladle it over rice and top with some tender herbs

Ingredients:

(6 Servings)

  • 2lbs frozen crawfish tails, shelled, thawed, and drained (12-14lbs if fresh whole crawfish)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups seafood, shrimp or chicken stock, hot 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced 
  • 1 bundle of green onions, green tops removed, diced 
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds removed, diced 
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced 
  • 1 stalk celery, diced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • ½ tsp kosher salt 
  • 1 tbsp cajun spice mix
  • ¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on how much spice you want)
  • black pepper to taste 
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • 2-3 cups of prepared long-grain rice such as Basmati or Jasmine 

Instructions:

Step 1:

In a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed saute pan, melt butter over medium-low heat, taking care not to brown or burn. 

Once the butter is melted add onions, bell peppers, and celery to the pan. Keep the heat at medium-low and gently cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are translucent and the peppers and celery are soft. About 15-20 minutes.  

Add in garlic and stir until fragrant

Add in salt, cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Stir until the spices are integrated

Step 2:

Push all the vegetables to one side of the pan, allowing the butter to pool on the opposite side. Add the flour to the butter side, and stir together to make a roux.

Stir the butter and flour mixture constantly until it starts to thicken and has a creamy, paste-like consistency, 2-3 minutes. 

Once the roux is thick and creamy, stir together with the vegetables and continue cooking down for another 20-25 minutes. 

Stir often to prevent the flour from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Step 3:

Once the vegetable and roux mix has gained some color and the vegetables are incredibly soft, heat stock in a saucepan or in the microwave. It doesn’t need to be boiling, just hot. 

Pour roughly ⅓ cup of hot stock into the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Once the first batch of the liquid has mostly been absorbed, add in another ⅓ cup of stock and stir for 1-2 minutes until thickened. 

Add crawfish to the pan and stir to combine. Once the crawfish and vegetables are thoroughly mixed, add the remaining stock to the pan and stir. 

Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Turn the heat back down, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Step 4:

While the etouffe is simmering, prepare the rice in a separate pot or with a rice cooker. Though it isn’t mandatory, it is highly recommended that you rinse your rice a few times before cooking. 

Step 5:

Check the consistency of the etouffee. 

Dip a spoon into the liquid and run your finger along the back of the spoon, forming a line. If the line remains visible, it’s ready, if it runs back together, it needs a few more minutes. 

If the sauce has thickened too much it will have the consistency of porridge. If this is the case, add stock or water ¼ cup at a time to loosen. 

Once you’ve reached the desired consistency (between a stew and a gravy), cut the heat. Taste and adjust for spices if needed. 

Step 6:

Place a ½ cup of cooked rice into the center of a soup bowl. Ladle the etouffee over the rice, and top with fresh parsley. 

Serve and enjoy while hot!

Ingredients substitutions

While Pappadeaux crawfish etouffee is undeniably delicious as is, there are no hard and fast requirements that will make or break the dish. Here are a few suggestions for substitutions you can try. 

1. Shrimp 

Shrimp and crawfish are often mistaken as one and the same, and for good reason. They are both in the crustacean family, though crawfish is a freshwater crustacean and has a sweeter flavor. 

Shrimp is saltier and more abundant than crawfish, making it easier to source. Because of this, shrimp is a great swap if you live in an area where crawfish don’t make regular appearances in the local cuisine. 

To use shrimp in lieu of crawfish, cut the salt in half to account for its natural salinity. 

2. Sausage 

Etouffee is generally associated with shellfish but can be made with any type of meat.

If you are allergic to shellfish or simply aren’t a fan, sausage is an outstanding substitute for this recipe.

To substitute, use andouille or kielbasa sausage and cut into ½ inch rings before cooking.  

3. Cornstarch 

The use of a thickening agent in etouffee is crucial for achieving the silky, thick consistency of the sauce. All-purpose flour is the traditional thickener but cornstarch is a fantastic substitute.

When substituting cornstarch for flour, cut the amount by half. In this recipe, you would use 2 tbsp+2 tsp cornstarch.

4. Grits 

If you really want to take the “Southern” food element of crawfish etouffee to the next level, serving it over grits instead of rice is a great choice. 

If using grits, undercook them slightly. This will help prevent them from absorbing too much liquid and becoming mushy under the etouffee. 

What to serve with Pappadeaux Crawfish Etouffee 

This dish has enough vegetables, protein, and carbs to be satiating on its own, but if you want to up the ante of your dinner by adding in some delicious sides, we won’t try to stop you. 

Here are a few suggested side dishes that will go wonderfully with this recipe. 

Steamed broccoli with garlic 

To add a contrasting texture to the crawfish etouffee, steamed broccoli with garlic is an excellent choice. 

The crunch of the broccoli will offset the richness of the gravy, while the pungent garlic will add even more depth of flavor to the meal. 

Roasted Brussels sprouts 

In our opinion, Brussels sprouts are the unsung hero of the vegetable world, and they are an excellent companion to crawfish etouffee. 

They are on the bitter side, but giving them a solid roast in the oven will calm some of the bitterness without eliminating it completely.

The slight bitterness of the roasted Brussels will help offset the sweetness of the crawfish meat, resulting in a beautifully balanced meal. 

Fresh garlic bread 

No visit to Pappadeaux is complete without their bread basket and delish garlic bread. 

Not only does the garlic make the flavorful etouffee even more flavorful, but it’s also the perfect vehicle for mopping up any lingering sauce

How to reheat Pappadeaux Crawfish Etouffee 

Reheating seafood is a delicate dance that can result in rubbery, dried-out meat if done incorrectly, and most people shy away from it altogether. 

However, if you’re left with extra etouffee or make it in advance, there are a few ways to reheat it without turning the crawfish into a textural disaster. 

How to reheat Pappadeux Crawfish Etouffee on the stove

The best way to reheat Pappadeaux crawfish etouffee is without question on the stove. Simply place the leftover etouffee in a saucepan set over medium heat. 

Gently bring the etouffee up to temperature, stirring constantly until warmed through. Most importantly, do not bring the etouffe to a boil. The excess heat will make the crawfish rubbery. 

How to reheat Pappadeux Crawfish Etouffee in the microwave

Another option for reheating crawfish etouffee is in the microwave. To do this, use a slotted spoon to remove the crawfish tails and set them aside. 

Place the sauce without the crawfish in a microwave-safe container and cover with a wet paper napkin. Heat on high for 2 minutes, stirring once. 

Add the crawfish back into the heated sauce and stir for 30 seconds, allowing the residual heat to gently warm the crawfish

How to store Pappadeaux Crawfish Etouffee 

Storing crawfish Etouffee is incredibly easy and can be done in two ways. 

Store in the fridge

To store in the fridge, transfer any remaining etouffee to a lidded container. Allow the etouffee to cool down completely, uncovered, on the counter, or in the fridge. 

Once it has cooled completely, cover tightly and store in the fridge for up to 3 days

Store in the freezer

To store in the freezer, follow the same method of allowing the etouffee to cool completely without a lid. Once it has cooled completely, cover and store in the freezer for up to 1 month

Thaw in the refrigerator before heating.  

pappadeaux crawfish etouffee recipe

Pappadeaux Crawfish Etouffee Recipe

Crawfish etouffee is a classic of Creole and Cajun cuisine made popular by Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. Pappadeaux is primarily located in the Southeastern United States, but luckily their crawfish etouffee can easily be made at home if there isn’t one in your area!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cajun, Creole
Servings 6 people
Calories 1015 kcal
Equipment
  • cast iron skillet
  • heavy-bottomed skillet
  • rice pot or rice cooker
Ingredients
  
  • 2 lbs frozen crawfish tails shelled, thawed, and drained (12-14lbs if fresh whole crawfish)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups seafood, shrimp or chicken stock hot
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 bundle green onions green tops removed, diced 
  • 1 green bell pepper seeds removed, diced 
  • ½ red bell pepper seeds removed, diced 
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp cajun spice mix
  • ¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper more or less depending on how much spice you want
  • TT black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh parsley chopped for garnish
  • 2-3 cups prepared long-grain rice ex: Basmati, Jasmine
Instructions
 
  • In a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed saute pan, melt butter over medium-low heat, taking care not to brown or burn. 
    Once the butter is melted add onions, bell peppers, and celery to the pan. Keep the heat at medium-low and gently cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are translucent and the peppers and celery are soft. About 15-20 minutes.  
    Add in garlic and stir until fragrant
    Add in salt, cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Stir until the spices are integrated
  • Push all the vegetables to one side of the pan, allowing the butter to pool on the opposite side. Add the flour to the butter side, and stir together to make a roux.
    Stir the butter and flour mixture constantly until it starts to thicken and has a creamy, paste-like consistency, 2-3 minutes. 
    Once the roux is thick and creamy, stir together with the vegetables and continue cooking down for another 20-25 minutes. 
    Stir often to prevent the flour from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the vegetable and roux mix has gained some color and the vegetables are incredibly soft, heat stock in a saucepan or in the microwave. It doesn’t need to be boiling, just hot. 
    Pour roughly ⅓ cup of hot stock into the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Once the first batch of liquid has mostly been absorbed, add in another ⅓ cup of stock and stir for 1-2 minutes until thickened. 
    Add crawfish to the pan and stir to combine. Once the crawfish and vegetables are thoroughly mixed, add the remaining stock to the pan and stir. 
    Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Turn the heat back down, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • While the etouffe is simmering, prepare the rice in a separate pot or with a rice cooker. Though it isn’t mandatory, it is highly recommended that you rinse your rice a few times before cooking. 
  • Check the consistency of the etouffee. 
    Dip a spoon into the liquid and run your finger along the back of the spoon, forming a line. If the line remains visible, it’s ready, if it runs back together, it needs a few more minutes. 
    If the sauce has thickened too much it will have the consistency of porridge. If this is the case, add stock or water ¼ cup at a time to loosen. 
    Once you’ve reached the desired consistency (between a stew and a gravy), cut the heat. Taste and adjust for spices if needed. 
    Step 6:
    Place a ½ cup of cooked rice into the center of a soup bowl. Ladle the etouffee over the rice, and top with fresh parsley. 
    Serve and enjoy while hot! 
Nutrition
Calories: 1015kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 44gFat: 62gSaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 412mgSodium: 1183mgFiber: 2.7gSugar: 3gVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 160mgIron: 6mg
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