Book Review: Big Flavor’s of New Orleans

Kevin Belton Cover

Chef Kevin Belton, a true Creole New Orleanian, dishes up the culinary history of his city with recipes that provide both down-home comfort and the big flavours. He teaches how to make a perfect roux and explains the background of that holiest trinity of Creole cooking—celery, onion, and bell pepper—while offering his spin on the Louisiana classics of gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, po’boys, and grillades with grits.

Chef Belton’s signature dishes like Pecan-Crusted Redfish, Stuffed Mirlitons, Louisiana Boudin-Stuffed Quail, Creole Cottage Pie, and Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce are not to be missed and are well worth the time in the kitchen!

Kevin Belton, a teacher of the fundamentals of Louisiana cooking for more than twenty years, is an instructor at the New Orleans School of Cooking and has been recognized as one of the top thirty Louisiana chefs by the American Culinary Federation. Belton explores the distinctive Creole food of New Orleans in his PBS cooking series, New Orleans Cooking with Kevin Belton, which will begin airing in January 2016. He has been a guest on numerous food programs including Emeril Live, Ready . . . Set . . . Cook!, Live Love Lunch, Food Fighters, Taste of America, and Eating in the Bayou.

Rhonda Findley is the author of several New Orleans-centric books including the best-selling 100 Greatest New Orleans Recipes of All Time and New Orleans Unleashed. Her thirty-year culinary career includes professional restaurant management, radio broadcast, and freelance food writing. She makes her home in the Bywater-Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans with her 9th Ward dogs, Presston, Reni, and Mr. Big Stuff.

Kevin Belton’s Big Flavors of New Orleans by Kevin Belton with Rhonda K. Findley is available from and


New Orleans Shrimp Étouffée

Photograph by Denny Culbert from Kevin Belton’s Big Flavors of New Orleans by Kevin Belton with Rhonda K. Findley


Étouffée literally means to smother. This roux-based dish is one of the classic dishes of Creole New Orleans. Some people are intimated by the name étouffée because it sounds complicated, but this dish is truly easy to master. And, it has the authentic flavors of New Orleans incorporating both a roux and the trinity. Serves 6

1⁄2 cup butter

1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1⁄2 cups chopped onion

3⁄4 cup chopped celery

3⁄4 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons Creole seasoning

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups shrimp stock

1 cup chopped fresh Creole tomatoes (seeds removed)

3 stalks fresh thyme

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons hot sauce

3 pounds 16⁄20 shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup chopped green onions

1⁄8 cup chopped Italian parsley

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

3 cups cooked white Louisiana rice

In a cast iron skillet on medium heat, melt the butter. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon slowly sprinkle flour, mixing continuously until completely added and about the consistency of wet sand. Continue cooking until roux is the color of peanut butter.

Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and sauté, adding Creole seasoning and cooking until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to stir for 1 minute.

Gradually add about 1⁄2 cup of the shrimp stock and continuing to stir until the roux and vegetables form a paste, about 1 minute. Add the rest of the stock gradually, stirring to loosen the mixture and fully integrate the flavors. The mixture should have the consistency of a gravy, not too thick, not too thin. Hold back some stock if it appears the sauce is too loose. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Add the tomatoes, thyme, Worcestershire, and hot sauce and simmer for 25 minutes.

Add the shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the shrimp turn bright pink and are cooked through. Stir in green onions and parsley, cover, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Serve over rice.

Tips & Suggestions

You can make this étouffée recipe with crawfish, chicken, or your favorite vegetables and change the stock for a vegetarian twist.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Gibbs Smith.



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