Published On: Tue, Oct 31st, 2023

Shrimp étouffée can be ready in 30 minutes

Shrimp étouffée can be ready in 30 minutes
Shrimp étouffée can be ready in 30 minutes

My first byline in The Washington Post carried the headline “Master a Cajun classic in 30 minutes with this easy shrimp étouffée.”

I chose that recipe because I had complete confidence in it, and it represented me and my strengths.

I came to The Post with a solid foundation for Southern, Cajun and New Orleans cooking. I grew up eating this way. I ate these dishes at home and in restaurants, and, as a food and dining writer at The Times-Picayune |, I spent my work-life reading about, editing and writing about how to make this food. My phone is filled with numbers for New Orleans-area chefs, and my husband is a bona fide Cajun from Cut Off in South Louisiana.

Get the recipe: Shrimp Étouffée

The dish was embraced by many readers. I still get emails from home cooks who tell me they frequently make it, and that is so gratifying.

I imagine I’ll get more in the weeks to come. The reason: We’ve made it much easier to find older recipes like this one with our newly souped-up Recipes experience.

Last week, we relaunched this tool to make it easier for readers to dive into our more than 10,000 recipes. You can search by recipe name or main ingredient and narrow the results by filters for cooking time, course and dietary preferences, or combinations of all these things.

And when you find just what you want, we’ve made it a snap to print it, save it to your favorites and add your own thoughts about the dish.

With this easier access, you also can search more specifically, if you, like me, want to not only cook what you know and love, but also expand your skills and what you bring to the table.

When I began my journey as recipes editor here in late 2019, I knew my way around an étouffée, but I realized, boy, I have a lot to learn about foods from around the United States and the world. I’ve never thought of myself as a cooking expert. I’m knowledgeable, yes. I went to cooking school. I’ve been cooking since I had to stand on a chair to reach the kitchen counter.

But I have so much more to learn. There is so much that is beloved by millions of people but is new to me. And, if you love to cook, isn’t that exciting to embrace?

The world is a big, big place with varied and tasty ingredients and myriad cooking techniques. We dig into all of it here at The Post.

30 of the all-time best Washington Post recipes, according to readers

As I’ve interviewed cookbook authors, chefs and home cooks for our Dinner in Minutes column, chatted with my whip-smart colleagues about their recipes and read, read, read, I’ve begun to move from trepidatious to confident in an ever-growing number of cuisines.

I’ve learned how to make a Simple Butter Chicken and Teriyaki Rib-Eye. I can prepare a Cantonese Sizzling Whole Fish and have explored the glories of Indian chutneys, making a favorite brisk, bright Parsley Burnt Lemon Chutney for family and friends.

But I’m also better at the basics. I now make a lovely Classic Folded Omelet thanks to Becky Krystal. I bake sandwich bread — me, the bread phobe! — and batches of cream biscuits without thinking.

The point is that the revamped Recipes experience is a great place to go to answer the question: What should I do with the pork chops I have in my fridge? We’re here for you when you want a chicken dinner in 30 minutes or less, too.

But we can also step up when you need a showstopping dessert, like our Berry Chantilly Cake or when you want to learn the ins and outs of mastering bagel-making.

If after searching out a recipe, you have questions about an ingredient, technique or substitution, you’re not dangling out there on your own. We’re right here with you. Post a comment or question. Send us an email at, or join my clever colleagues, Becky and Aaron Hutcherson, for their weekly chat about food and cooking. (You can post questions in advance here. You can join them live, or go back and read the chat at your leisure after it is over.)

Please visit and revisit, and, if you like what you see, bookmark it.

Then, your path is up to you. We hope you’ll take us along as that trusted friend who stands ready with encouragement and, when you ask for it, a bit of advice.

Get the recipe: Shrimp Étouffée

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