A popular dish of a thick, spicy stew of crayfish and vegetables served over white rice. Its rich, deep color and flavor come from the dark brown roux on which it's based. The word étouffée comes from the French étouffer, "to smother" or "to suffocate." The term à l'étouffée refers to the method of cooking food in a minute amount of liquid, tightly covered and over very low heat. This method is also called à l'étuvée.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.