Sweet and Spicy Prawn Étouffée

Christmas decorating always begins outside for our family..

Dried coppery magnolia leaves

tender spruce and fir branches

silver papered birch

ruby shaded “faux” berries, perhaps some

raw-umber cones and twigs,

transforms a fall container into a wintery one.

{ I’ll let you in on a secret.. these little pots are available at Sobey’s..
not too pricey and you can just plop them in your pots! }

But something seemed to be missing…

That’s better!

But frost also means it’s time to start taking extra Vitamin C,
since I’ve begun sneezing again.

{ I’ll let you in on another little secret of mine.. }
One might assume that someone who goes by the name of “Smidge”
would have a sneeze as delicate as a rose-patterned tea-cup..

.. a dainty sort of “tishoo”.

I do hate to disappoint.

This subtle bit of news just in from my daughter:
{ whose worldly opinion is known to be sought planet-wide }

“Mom! You do know, don’t you, that you have one of the worst sneezes ever?
They’re really annoying.”

Yes.. my sneezes are a hale and hearty heave-ho..
the kind of sneeze my cute neighbor, Donnie, once said.. sounded just like a horse.
{ At first I thought that was a compliment. }

At least I am in good company..

 “I like to write when I feel spiteful; it’s like having a good sneeze.”
D.H. Lawrence

The name of this light weeknight dinner reminds me of a sneeze..
Étouffée means to “smother”,
which, apparently, is something my daughter would like to do to me on occasion..
but then who would cook dinner?

Sweet and Spicy Prawn Étouffée

Sweet and Spicy Prawn Étouffée

Rating: 51

Sweet and Spicy Prawn Étouffée


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped

1 apple, cored and chopped (peeled if you wish)

1 cup celery, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 + 1/3 8-oz cans tomato sauce

1 cup water

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

2 400gm bags raw prawns (31/40)

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

3 cups cooked brown rice

lemon wedges


In a large pot, whisk the flour and oil together until well blended. Then turn up over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and continue to whisk and cook for an extra 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to turn reddish-brown in color.

Stir in the onion, red pepper, apple, celery, and garlic. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix in the tomato sauce, 1 cup water, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning and sweet chili sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make sure to devein and remove the tails and shell of the prawns. Add the shrimp and flat-leafed parsley and simmer about 4-5 more minutes, or until the prawns have turned a nice pink and opaque color.

Serve the prawns and sauce over brown rice. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.



  • saffronandhoney - November 22, 2012 - 9:05 pm

    Absolutely beautiful, Smidge! And that looks like such a warming, delicious meal.ReplyCancel

  • Clanmother - November 22, 2012 - 9:06 pm

    Have you ever noticed that the French language always adds flair. For example, what sound more appealing: soup du jour or soup of the day? I can always count on the price to be higher when there is a foreign word in the title. I do love stopping by – your blog is so so so beautiful….ReplyCancel

  • Alice - November 22, 2012 - 9:20 pm

    Smart idea to convert decorations to a new season. And Bless you!ReplyCancel

  • Choc Chip Uru - November 22, 2012 - 9:40 pm

    What stunning decorations my friend :D
    Your photos are breathtaking as are your recipes!

    Choc Chip UruReplyCancel

  • Eha - November 22, 2012 - 9:50 pm

    Yes, I surely love the colours of your early decorations also :) ! And the moreish prawn dish with so much crispness in the base. You have used Cajun seasoning, but I can see the same base work wonderfully well with a number of other spice blends also: yum!!!ReplyCancel

  • Korena in the Kitchen - November 22, 2012 - 10:54 pm

    Christmas decorations already, where has November gone?? The spices in this dish look like they would chase away any (unladylike) sneezes ;) ReplyCancel

  • cookinginsens - November 22, 2012 - 11:36 pm

    Mmmm. Gorgeous. Love the colors.ReplyCancel

  • thecompletecookbook - November 23, 2012 - 12:30 am

    Would I be a piggy asking for a double portion…
    :-) MandyReplyCancel

  • Food,Photography & France - November 23, 2012 - 12:54 am

    What a delicious way to serve prawns/shrimp and nice pictures. We’re terrible at getting Christmas decorations together, but our daughter makes up for it. I think she’d be happy with Christmas every day.ReplyCancel

  • jothetartqueen - November 23, 2012 - 1:16 am

    love how that pot of plant is being transformed! Those prawns look like they pack a lot of flavour! Looks like a great quick meal to put together!ReplyCancel

  • restlessjo - November 23, 2012 - 1:24 am

    I knew I could rely on you to cheer me up this morning, Smidge. I haven’t even started to think about Christmas yet, but I know I should. My husband loves prawns so I cast an eye down the ingredients. Canola oil? Yikes! I’ll have to go looking. Got the Worcestershire sauce though.ReplyCancel

  • Bam's Kitchen - November 23, 2012 - 1:59 am

    Bless you Smidge! You made me laugh out loud…I am sure is it more like a mouse sneeze than a horse. I love those quick and easy dishes especially this time of the year when life gets so hectic.ReplyCancel

  • Just Add Attitude - November 23, 2012 - 2:22 am

    Lovely decorations – I cannot believe that Christmas is just around the corner, where did the year go. I should say bless you across the ocean in case the vitamin C hasn’t cured your sneezing. ;) ReplyCancel

  • Keep Calm and Eat On - November 23, 2012 - 3:23 am

    We have a few of them horses in the family, so I know. Mine are subtle with three to four in a row, which I see my two year old do as well. Too funny!
    Lovely recipe and lovely plates!ReplyCancel

  • Profiteroles & Ponytails - November 23, 2012 - 4:06 am

    Good reminder — I need to work on my pots this weekend. Clever segue from the sneeze to the food! (can’t wait for the day when the ponytails are so honest) I’ll be bookmarking this as I have wanted to try it for a while now.ReplyCancel

  • Eva Taylor - November 23, 2012 - 4:12 am

    Lovely urn. I just did our urns on the weekend, but since we have four (2larger and 2smaller) I usually make mine from scratch; this year the total was $41 which I’m pretty happy about.
    I had a shrimp étouffée in New Orleans years ago and it was so rich it turned me off, but this recipe sounds wonderful and not rich; I’m going to have to bookmark this.
    I read somewhere once that sneezes are little “O’s” ;) ReplyCancel

    • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen - November 23, 2012 - 8:40 am

      Eva.. where did you find your greens then? I thought I was doing great getting them at a good cost at Sobey’s. Our garden center was more expensive?? I’ve done from scratch every year, but this was cheaper. Is there another place I could be looking?? I’m on a frugal frenzy these days:D Little “O’s”? Now wouldn’t that be nice;DReplyCancel

      • Eva Taylor - November 23, 2012 - 8:49 am

        I got my greens at Loblaws Supercentre (I usually support our local flower shop but they’ve reduced the volume and upped the price so I had to be practical). I bought three packs of two kinds of boughs, they were $5.00 each (two each for the large urns and one each for the smaller urns). I had a few large pine cones left over from years past, and I got some extra pine cones at the dollar store about two months ago. I made the bows from some sparkly netting (9m $6.00 at Supercentre). I’ll send you a pic of the urns, they turned out great! I harvested the birch from the cottage a couple of years ago because they are a rip off ($6. each) here in Toronto! My friend T in Chicago bought me some vines with little tiny lights on them, which I am hoping to add before Xmas, if they can make it up to visit. With the vines, it will increase each urn by $5 but they are totally reusable so they can be amortized over the years! I usually uplight the urns anyway so they are also quite pretty at night.ReplyCancel

  • gastrogardener - November 23, 2012 - 4:55 am

    A chilling frost outside and warm comfort inside. Perfect!ReplyCancel

  • glutenfreezen - November 23, 2012 - 5:24 am

    Smidge I love your pots, and you’re right, they do look better with a bit of frost. My husband has tiny little sneezes that he manages to keep inside somehow…I, on the other hand, like you, am a hearty sneezer. It just feels right. ;) The etouffee looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Tessa - November 23, 2012 - 11:00 am

    Beautiful etouffee! So brightly colored and delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Mad Dog - November 23, 2012 - 11:19 am

    Fantastic – I love Cajun food ;-) ReplyCancel

  • Hetterbell - November 23, 2012 - 11:51 am

    Your decorations are gorgeous! xxReplyCancel

  • viveka - November 23, 2012 - 1:52 pm

    Barbara, that looks so good … can feel the smell, but I would change the prawns to chicken again.
    Because we can’t get king prawns anymore in Sweden, they are stopped .. and normal prawns are too small and I can’t get them raw neither.
    Love your arrangement – but I adore it with the frost on – we had frost the other morning and -4C the whole day. It was bitter cold so soon the sun gone down. Love frosty morning and it’s crispness. Or may it’s not real frost … hard to see.ReplyCancel

  • Brittany - November 23, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    I too have a loud and obnoxious sneeze. It doesn’t help that I don’t cover my mouth either..HOWEVER I make sure I am away from any other people, I just don’t like getting sneeze on my clothing!! This meal looks hearty, warm, and delicious! I am loving your decorations, and the frost!ReplyCancel

  • Charles - November 23, 2012 - 4:04 pm

    Can you believe my wife hates sneezing. She says it’s so annoying but I just LOVE a good sneeze – clearing all the cobwebs out of the “pipes” :D.

    Love the look of the étoufée – it’s got such a vibrant colour and heck, shrimp is always a winner!ReplyCancel

  • Kristy - November 23, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    Great timing on the etoufee Smidge! Mike and I just got back from New Orleans and that was the one food I didn’t try while we were there (believe me – I think I ate everything else though!). Now I can try and make this at home. Fabulous! It looks delicious. I hope you keep those sneezes at bay…lots of vitamin C! :) ReplyCancel

  • petit4chocolatier - November 23, 2012 - 7:25 pm

    Love the holidays! Your Christmas decorating with frost is beautiful and the burst of colours with the Étouffée are delicious! I love all the ingredients; spicy!ReplyCancel

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef - November 23, 2012 - 11:38 pm

    LOL I have a dust allergy and I can so relate to what you’re saying. After 13 sneezes in a row I just don’t care what people think, I just want relief. :) Your decorations and your Étouffée are fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • hotlyspiced - November 24, 2012 - 3:26 am

    Your Christmas decoration is just gorgeous. And then you showed the frost-bitten images. It’s hard for me to imagine weather that’s that cold. But it does make for some stunning images xxReplyCancel

  • Bluejellybeans - November 24, 2012 - 12:01 pm

    Beautiful post, Barbara! The decoration is beautiful and wintery; the recipe delicious and heartwarming…both perfect! :) ReplyCancel

  • Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - November 24, 2012 - 2:08 pm

    I need to try my hand at etouffe. It’s one of those NOLA dishes I’ve yet to try to make. Such a classic.ReplyCancel

  • Amy (Savory Moments) - November 24, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    Oh, yum! I made shrimp etouffee once and absolutely loved it. This looks really delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Three Well Beings - November 24, 2012 - 10:11 pm

    How hilarious that your daughter thinks your sneeze is annoying! Our children can bring us back to earth with just a word, can’t they? The greenery and Christmas arrangements are beautiful. And as you know, we just finished our Thanksgiving, and now we’re off and running towards Christmas! I’m sure you will continue to be a great source of inspiration for Christmas cheer…so you need to stay well! :-) You have an important job to do! oxoxoReplyCancel

  • Tandy - November 24, 2012 - 10:44 pm

    Have you tried taking zinc when you feel the sniffles starting?ReplyCancel

  • rsmacaalay - November 25, 2012 - 12:33 am

    Spicy and Prawns on top of rice, thats my type of mealReplyCancel

  • Jasline - November 25, 2012 - 3:06 am

    Beautiful photos Smidge! Take care of yourself and don’t catch a cold! The étouffée looks absolutely yummy, I love prawns, so I really hope to try this soon!ReplyCancel

  • Victoria - November 25, 2012 - 9:57 am

    Love the festive and elegant centerpiece!ReplyCancel

  • Geni - November 25, 2012 - 12:53 pm

    So flavorful and delightful to look at. Sneezes shouldn’t be dainty in my humble opinion.ReplyCancel

  • Heather @ SugarDish(Me) - November 25, 2012 - 5:36 pm

    This is beautiful, Smidge! I’ve been loading up on peppers and veggies and vitamins to battle a cold, too. And I am jealous of your snowy arrangement. No snow here since 2010. Makes me so sad.ReplyCancel

  • mjskit - November 25, 2012 - 9:14 pm

    I bet your home – inside and out – is gorgeous during the holidays! I love what I’ve seen thus far! I had to laugh at the sneeze story. About 4 of us had a sneezing fit on Thanksgiving Day (different times), which eventually let to a discussion of sneezes, types, how it makes you feel, etc. Last but not least – what a delicious looking etouffee!ReplyCancel

  • Joanna - November 26, 2012 - 3:03 am

    I have never done anything like make an outside urn, what a great idea, and prawns too – I love the juxtapositions in your posts, they are glorious. My throat is swelling up and feeling scratchy – I think OH has given me his cold, which he in turn got from going to a hospital with his Mum. One should stay out of hospitals wherever possible. Atchoo – sneezles and wheezles, can you hear me from where you are, ok, just one more…. xxReplyCancel

  • Scrambled Megs - November 26, 2012 - 4:12 am

    your pictures are just incredible! xReplyCancel

  • My Italian Smörgåsbord - November 26, 2012 - 4:48 am

    wow! love this dish! this is now in my to do list for the next few weeks. so spicy, warm and comforting. and I still eat fish even if I do not eat meat any longer, so this is just what I need right now! packed with veggies and with the addition of prawns which not only add taste but also loads of B12 vitamin. thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Danny - November 26, 2012 - 7:59 am

    I love the combo of sweet and spicy in this dish, especially the addition of the apples. And your outdoor decor is beautiful with the frost — it’s really beginning to look like Christmas :) ReplyCancel

  • Katerina - November 26, 2012 - 1:43 pm

    This is such a beautiful decoration! The sweet and sour flavors in this dish are right up my alley!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles - November 26, 2012 - 3:43 pm

    Barb, those Christmas arrangements are just gorgeous. I especially like that they’re not overdone – just a few elements here and there mixed in with nature. As for your spicy shrimp dish… your ingredients have my mouth watering… who wouldn’t want to be étouffée in that kind of goodness! ;0).ReplyCancel

  • Coleen Patrick - November 26, 2012 - 5:18 pm

    A dainty sort of tishoo! Oh, thanks for the smiles and the lovely holiday photos. :) ReplyCancel

  • ohyesshesabitchbutnotyours - November 27, 2012 - 3:47 am

    You have an amazing looking blog, woman! :) Interesting photography and all put together in a simple, beautiful way. :) Keep it up! I’ll follow!


  • richardmcgary - November 27, 2012 - 8:40 am

    I love etoufee. It’s one of my absolute favorites. This looks wonderful and I’m sure was very tasty, too.ReplyCancel

  • wendy@chezchloe - November 27, 2012 - 9:03 pm

    I’m inspired to head out back and cut me some greens and berries. I love your decorations. The etoufee looks delicious. I’d like to make extras and freeze them in packets for 2 as it looks like it would freeze well for those nights you don’t feel like cooking nor eating a sandwich. cheers. x wtReplyCancel

  • Karen - November 28, 2012 - 5:56 pm

    Apple in your étouffée sounds so different but good. You know me…I’m always looking for recipes to use the apple from my orchard.ReplyCancel

  • Karista - November 28, 2012 - 11:25 pm

    Hahaha! Oh Smidge I can so identify. My sneeze isn’t the least bit lady like and the center of many family jokes. Love etouffee and this recipe sounds delish! Perfect for the winter weather. Wishing you a most delicious holiday season. Hugs!ReplyCancel

  • Gretchen O'Donnell - November 30, 2012 - 11:04 am

    I am becomming a terrible sneezer. I hate it. But, on the other hand, this food looks fabulous as usual!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel @ The Pescetarian and the Pig - November 30, 2012 - 11:40 am

    Now that’s my kind of meal!!! And your winter photographs are just stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Ruth - December 2, 2012 - 8:00 pm

    Now that looks like an awesome meal to warm up to after being out in the cold. Those chilies definitely will clear you up! I can’t believe all the snow and frost you guys have had up there. It’s going to be 70 here tomorrow and it’s December! That’s crazy warm even for Virginia!ReplyCancel

  • Zen and Genki - January 17, 2013 - 12:53 pm

    Really pretty…and so very festive!ReplyCancel

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