I start with chopping up the Onion, Peppers, and Celery fairly fine, 1/4 inch pieces at most, and set aside together in a bowl. Then chop up the Green Onion and Garlic, set aside seperately. Mix the spices into a bowl, set aside. With the 2 double batches I've made so far the veggies have filled a 10 cup size tupperware container.
Peel the Shrimp and set aside. With the Clam Juice simmer all the Shrimp shells in a pan to add flavor to the Clam Juice. When done strain the shells out of the juice and set aside. Toss the shells.
Next its usually a good idea to start the rice. Preheat oven to 350. For this recipe its nice to bake it, more flavorful. I use the bread loaf baking pans for this and find that I can fit 2 Cups of Rice with 4 Cups of Chicken Stock in the pan. For a double batch party I bake 3 pans. Add a little bit of the spice mixture and some Garlic Powder. Its up to you how much spice to add but Jim has found through many batchs that just mildly seasonning the rice is better so you can use the rice to moderate how spicey the meal is when you sit to eat. Cover with foil and seal. Bake for 1 hours - 1 hours 10 min - 20 minutes.
All the above steps can be done the day before to help spread out the work.
The Heart of the Beast (The Roux).
Now you can start making the Roux. Have all the ingredients that you prepared handy because once you begin you won't be able to leave the Roux or stop stirring it.
The 2 double batches that I've made up to this point filled to the brim a 6 quart stock pot so use something at least that size or larger. For the best results use a wooden spoon and cast iron pot. We have designated gear just for this stage of the cookin. After you eat this you won't think we're so fanatical hehe. But we are, about our Ettoufe' anyway.
Take a cup of Olive Oil and heat over a med-high flame until just a pinch of flour bubbles, at which point add the 1 cup of Flour. Stir continuously (but very carefully, will give ya a good burn if you splatter yourself, mainly your fingers). If any brown flecks appear remove from the heat immediately and continue to stir until the flecks disappear. Return to the heat. Continue this process until the Roux is a peanut butter colored or darker. NOTE: If you see black specs in the Roux then it has burned and must be discarded. The Roux process requires constant attention and viligance. Helps to have a beer to sample during this stage too.
After reaching your desired color reduce the heat to low and add the Onion, Peppers, and Celery with approximately a TBS of the spice mixture. Mix well until the veggies have cooked some, translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the Clam Juice and mix well. Raise the heat to med-high and stir continuosly watching for sticking on the bottom of the pan. Add the butter, garlic, and remaining spices. At this point you can also add the Bay Leaf for added flavor. Bring to a full boil for a least 1 minute while stirring. This is important as it removes any flour taste form the Roux. NOTE: If the butter later seperates and sits on the surface shake the pot to remusify for 5 minutes, stirring won't do the trick.
Reduce the heat and add the Shrimp and Green Onions, stir until the shrimp is cooked, serve over the rice. When I made Ettoufe' last weekend if took me about 1 hour 10 minutes from the start of the Roux till ready to serve. Left overs seem to take on better flavor as it ages and it also freezes well too.
We've had lots of parties centered around just this dish. After you've made it and created some Ettoufe' fiends it's not to hard to get them to help make it the next time. So then you can have some folks work on the shrimp while others work on the veggies. This will of course free you up to concentrate on the key piece of the Ettoufe', the Roux. And of course with a good batch you still get all the credit too! Enjoy!