My Cajun shrimp stew stays true to the classic, transforming less than 10 ingredients into an immensely flavorful, soul-satisfying dining experience, y'all!! Seasoned shrimp, set aside while my Trinity Roux™ develops into the authentic taste and texture base. Then, the broth and potatoes are added to the pot to simmer down into melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Finally, the shrimp are added in at the end, plumping up into soft, perfectly seasoned succulence at the finish. Served with rice or cauliflower rice, this scrumptious south Louisiana special dish is one of the very best things you'll ever put into your mouth. Yep and yay...
It's Also Called Brown Etouffee, Y'all...
Cajun shrimp stew is a classic, hundreds-year-old south Louisiana dish that includes a roux base, broth or water, seasoned shrimp, and most often potatoes. Although the preparation is extremely simple, the complex flavors that this old-fashioned shrimp stew recipe produces are nothing short of astounding.
Shrimp stew is also called brown etouffee in some Louisiana households. My own Cajun mom just called it stew, though. So, in my house, Cajun shrimp stew always had potatoes in a brown gravy. And, shrimp etouffee was made with one or more tomato products and never, ever had potatoes in it.
What's the Difference Between a Louisiana Cajun Stew and a Gumbo?
Cajun gumbos and stews are similar traditional south Louisiana dishes that begin with the preparation of a roux. They also use similar ingredients and are served with rice. However, they are two completely different classifications of dishes with their own unique preparations and flavor profiles.
For example, Cajun and Creole gumbos are soups that include 8 to 12 cups of broth or water. They almost always have two or more proteins, such as shrimp, chicken, crab, and sausage. True Louisiana Cajun gumbos usually have okra in them, while Creole gumbos include a touch of tomatoes in them.
In either gumbo, the 'gravy' is thinner. So, in contrast, Cajun stews have much less liquid called for in the recipes. Hence, they are much thicker and more stick-to-your-ribs than their gumbo cousins.
My Cajun Shrimp Stew is Unique, Y'all...
My Cajun shrimp stew utilizes my very own Trinity Roux™. This method jam-packs the easy shrimp stew recipe with deep, concentrated flavors that make each flavor-popping bite go off like fireworks in your mouth. Grain free and Paleo as is, you can eat this with yum-deliciousness with cauliflower rice to not miss a beat on your dietary lifestyle.
However, you can also enjoy this Louisiana Cajun shrimp stew with potatoes with rice to experience a truly authentic, eyes-rolling-into-the-back-of-your-head gluten free version. Indeed.
Ingredient Essentials & Substitutions
- Peeled, deveined fresh raw shrimp is the star of the show here, y'all. I used large shrimp, about 31/40-count. Two pounds is ideal, but you can also get away with a bit less if that's all that you have on hand.
- Potatoes round out this Cajun shrimp stew recipe, and are an integral part of the taste and texture of the time-tested dish. You can omit them easily, however, and just follow the recipe as is until completion. You'll have a lot more gravy to serve over rice, cauliflower rice, or even potatoes.
- My Trinity Roux™ injects this stewed shrimp recipe with authentic Cajun flavor and texture. It's super easy to make, uses easy-to-find ingredients, and you can get the hang of it after making it only once.
- Some people use shrimp stock to make Cajun shrimp stew. I do not, and instead use chicken broth. Why? Because to me, the shrimp stock overpowers the entire dish, and it all ends up tasting like a big pot of stock instead of a stew. In contrast, the seasoned shrimp flavor-pop right off of the chicken broth that I prefer to use. This method allows the deep, layered flavors of the roux and potatoes to shine in the stew without being overpowered.
- You can use oil in the place of the butter called for in the recipe. You can also use a prepared Cajun or Creole seasoning for the dried Cajun spices if that's all that you have on hand.
You're going to use chicken broth to make my Trinity Roux™. If you use one cup in the roux, then you'll likely need two cups for the stew. And, if you use two cups in the roux, then you probably only need one additional cup in the stew.
To be sure you get the consistency right, add the remaining chicken broth into the stew ½ cup at a time after you add the potatoes. This will give you the advantage of not adding more than enough broth at any one time.
Chopped raw potatoes brown quickly after you cut them. So, wait to cut the potatoes until you're almost ready to use them. Or, place the chopped potatoes in a bowl, then fill with water and refrigerate until ready to use. Then, drain them over a colander right before you add them to the pot.
How to Make Cajun Shrimp Stew
To start, pour the powdered seasonings over the shrimp.
Then, toss the seasonings into the shrimp until all of the pieces are coated with spices.
Now, add the butter and the chopped veggies to the pot to get the Trinity Roux™ going over medium-high heat.
When the roux is ready, add the potatoes to the pot.
Now, stir the broth into the pot. Then, cover the stew partially, and reduce the heat to medium-low. The stew-in-progress should look like this at this point.
Continue cooking the stew for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Then, add the seasoned shrimp to the pot. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the shrimp are cooked through.
Finally, remove the pot from the heat. Then, let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes to thicken the Cajun shrimp stew gravy.
And that's it, y'all!!
This easy Cajun shrimp stew stuns with scrumptious flavors and textures. So, don't be surprised when everyone around your table savors their bowls in total and complete satisfied silence.
The gravy is so tasty that you'll want to slurp up every last bit, y'all. And the tender shrimp and potatoes!! It's a match made in comfort food heaven that honestly just gets better and better with each glorious bite.
Share this Cajun shrimp stew with those that are always faithful and true to you. Much south Louisiana food love, and see y'all on the yum side...
What to Serve with Cajun Shrimp Stew
These other easy recipes complement this dish perfectly.
If you love Cajun shrimp stew, then you need to put these recipes on your menu rotation radar, too.
NOTE: This post was originally published on this blog on September 6, 2017, and updated and republished on December 15, 2023.
Cajun Shrimp Stew
For the Seasoned Shrimp
- Season the shrimp with the parsley flakes, garlic powder, paprika, and salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Set aside.
- If you haven't done so already, prepare the Trinity Roux™ over medium-high heat in a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.
- When the roux is ready, add the potatoes, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring often.
- When the potatoes are tender, stir the seasoned shrimp into the pot.
- Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the shrimp turn opaque. (A digital meat thermometer inserted into the shrimp should read at least 145 degrees).
- Taste, and add more salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste, if desired.
- Remove the pot from heat, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This resting period will thicken the gravy slightly and further incorporate all of the other flavors in the dish.
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