Crawfish Étouffée

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:



Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

Curiously enough, the word étouffée is not unrelated to smothered, as in smothered chicken. The verb étouffer in French means to suffocate, choke, or smother. The cooking term étouffée in French kitchens refers to foods, principally meats, that have been cooked in a tightly covered utensil. No doubt the Creole étouffée and the original French term are related, but in this recipe the dish is not tightly covered.


  • cup corn, peanut, or vegetable oil
  • cup flour
  • ¼ cup finely chopped sweet green pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • cups Fish Stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallion(s)
  • 3 pounds crawfish tails
  • ¼ cup crawfish fat
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil, or teaspoons dried
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy kettle and add the flour. Cook, stirring almost constantly, for about 20 minutes, or until the flour becomes reddish brown. Take care that the flour does not burn or it will develop a bitter taste.
  2. Add the green pepper, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the stock, stirring with a wire whisk.
  3. Heat the butter in a wide saucepan and add the scallions and crawfish tails. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the thickened sauce, crawfish fat, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add the basil, cayenne, and lemon juice. Serve with rice.