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Madame Marcellé Etouffée

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

It was at the suggestion of our very clever brand ambassador, Sierra, that I am in my kitchen preparing one of my favorite meals today. “Do you have a favorite recipe?” she asked. “Let’s share it with the Maison Marcellé familie to keep them engaged and entertained while they do their part to flatten the curve.”

Oui, etouffée is my guilty pleasure. Guilty, because this dish is prepared with an ENTIRE stick of butter. So, in full disclosure, we won’t be flattening any curves in my kitchen this week. As my clever neighbor, Julie at Inkwood Books, advised, the COVID-10 (as in ten lbs.) is a very real thing! Oh well, çe la vie!

Etouffée is my favorite food! I was first introduced to this Louisiana staple when I took a cooking class with Madame Cécile, a Creole woman in N’awlins’ iconic French Quarter. (As a side, In The Kitchen with Chef Kathy Gold is booking virtual cooking classes from her Haddonfield kitchen. A yummy diversion!)

Etouffée loosely translates to “smothered” and while there are many variations, it almost always consists of the Holy Trinity (celery, onion and green pepper), seafood, and a roux.  As most of our kitchens are pretty well stocked this week, you probably have all of the ingredients on hand. What you don’t have, substitute. Now, let’s get sizzling, Mesdemoiselles!

Step One

What You’ll Need

The Holy Trinity

  • 3 celery stalks,

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 green pepper

2 tbs EVOO (or whichever oil you typically use)

What You’ll Do

Finely chop the Trinity and sauté, over medium heat, in oil. Careful not to fry the veggies. Once the onions are translucent, remove your pan from the heat, and let it sit.

Tip: I throw the celery ends in the pan, too. Why compost all that flavor? Just be sure to remove them before adding to your etouffée.

Step Two: Now, le roux.

The roux is the backbone of this delish dish and will define its success, but don’t be intimidated. A roux is simply a mixture of flour and a fat (in this case, butter). Roux: Just a fancy French term for a thickening agent. The trick to a trés bien roux is timing. Have all of your ingredients on hand and be committed to it… don’t walk away.

What You’ll Need

1 cup flour (keep another cup handy)

1 stick of butter

1 quart seafood stock (veggie stock, even chicken, will do)

What You’ll Do

Slowly melt the butter over medium high heat in a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pan. Melt, don’t cook. The moment it’s melted, sprinkle your flour in and with a wooden spoon, stir, stir, stir. Sprinkle and stir, sprinkle and stir. Your roux will begin to solidify. Add some of the reserved flour if necessary. Continue to stir until it’s a light brown, nutty color, being very careful not to let it burn. Et voila, Cherie… you just made a roux!

Now here’s where it gets fun. Into that hot clumpy thickening mixture, slowly begin to pour the seafood stock. It will sizzle and smoke and the smells will be divine! Stir, stir, stir. Keep stirring and pouring, working out the clumps just as you would with gravy. Keep pouring until your roux becomes a shiny, velvety consistency. It should be slightly thicker than a gravy, more like a sauce. Mmmmm!

Step Three

What You'll Need

1/3 can tomato paste

1/2 cup white wine

Sautéed Trinity from Step One

EVOO from Step One

What You'll Do

Once you’ve got the consistency where you want it, add a heaping spoonful of tomato paste, about a third of the can. Careful not to go overboard. We’re not making making Shrimp Creole, which is basically this same dish with a soupier, tomato base. As you work the tomato sauce in, your etouffée will turn a rosé pink color. Ok, go on. Toss in a half cup of white wine. Now, pour yourself a glass. You’re basically done cooking at this point.

Add your sautéed Trinity, EVOO and all. Hey, we started this pot with a sick of butter, we’re not going to worry about a bit of healthy olive oil! All that’s left now is the flavor party…

Step Four

What You’ll Need

1 Tbs dried thyme

1 Tbs chopped garlic

Cayenne pepper, to taste (remember your Andouille will bring some heat)

…and any other spices you like.

What You’ll Do

As with every dish you cook, you should spice to taste. For authenticity’s sake, this dish only requires thyme, garlic and cayenne pepper. But I j’adore fresh dill and a bit of Old Bay in seafood dishes. In honor of Madame Cécile, I add a pinch of my Loo-zienne favorite, Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning.

Tip: As a rule, I don’t cook with “plain ol’ salt.” I prefer salted seasonings that help to build layers of flavor.


I don’t know how Madame Cécile would feel about this, but I have 3 ingredients that I add to etouffée.

  1. Wegman's Lemon EVOO

  2. Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp & Crab Boil

  3. McCormick Lemon Zest Sea Salt

A dash, a splash, and a pinch… in that order. That’s what makes this Madame Marcellé etouffée. De rein.

Now, taste it, Darling. Yummy? Need something? More cayenne, you spicy little thing? Some lemon zest might be good here, too. This is your opportunity to put your spin on this classique. Be creative, ma chère, and s’il vous plait, do share with us what you come up with.

Step Five

What You’ll Need

1 pound andouille sausage (I like D’artagnon, but any smoked sausage will do)

10-12 large shrimp or crawfish (or both), chopped

What You’ll Do

Fold into your sauce, cover, and turn the heat off. The sausage and seafood will cook in the heat while all of your flavors dance and come together.

Step Six (Finale)

What You'll Need

Rice (your preference in style and quantity)

What You'll Do

Get another glass of wine and boil the water for your rice. I prefer basmati rice, but your favorite will do just fine. While my rice simmers for 20 minutes, I put all of my ingredients away and wash the dishes. Oui, I wash dishes. Almost 20 years I’ve lived in my condo and never once I have run the dishwasher. I store cashmere sweaters and fascinators in it. Don’t judge me.

Once your rice is done, scoop a healthy portion in a bowl and smutha it with Cajun lishusness. You can garnish with lemon, or dill, or parsley, or crusty French bread… whatever! I enjoy mine with a glass of Côtes du Rhône. Red, Cuvée Réserve. $6/bottle.

Bon appetit!

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