Étouffée is a thick, stew-like dish that features shellfish and Creole or Cajun seasonings. Shrimp or crawfish are the most common shellfish used, and bell peppers, onion and celery—known as the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking—are an important part of the dish's foundation.
A staple in both Creole and Cajun cooking, étouffée is most popular in New Orleans, southern Louisiana and some of Mississippi's coastal areas. The dish employs a cooking technique known as smothering, where shellfish simmers in a thick sauce that uses a light roux as its base. Étouffée is most commonly served over a mound of white rice.