Happy 200th Birthday, Louisiana! I’m truly proud to live in this great state. Sure, it gets a bad rep sometimes but the residents know better. In honor of this monumental birthday, my post today is a classic Louisiana dish, crawfish etouffee.
Last week we had a crawfish boil, and I always look forward to cooking something yummy with the leftover crawfish tails. Unfortunately, we were all piggies and I only had about a cup of leftover tails! I needed something that could stretch so I went to the classic dish, Crawfish Etouffee. Somehow, despite eating it millions of times, I had never made it myself. I looked through some of my favorite Southern cookbooks for the perfect recipe and found it in My New Orleans by John Besh.
Chef Besh is one of my husband’s favorite chefs. We were fortunate enough to meet him at a food blogger conference last year and I must say he is the most down-to-earth nice guy, we just loved him. He even took a few minutes to talk hunting with James! His recipe was pretty easy to make and the end results were great. We ate some over white rice and some over some leftover fried catfish. If you’re using leftover boiled crawfish, save the seasoning until the end because your tails might already be spicy. I also added a little cornstarch mixed with cold water in for thickening, as James likes his etouffee to be fairly thick. Next time you find yourself with some crawfish tails, here’s the one to try!
Recipe adapted from My New Orleans
3 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp flour
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
half a red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1 quart seafood stock
3 tbsp butter
1 lb. peeled crawfish tails (or however many you have!)
2 green onions, chopped
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
salt, pepper and creole seasoning to taste
white rice for serving
cornstarch for thickening, if needed
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour to make the roux and stir constantly so it doesn’t stick or burn. You want the roux to reach a deep brown color, similar to a paper bag. (A silicone spatula works great for reaching in the corners of the pan.) Once the roux is browned, add your onions and cook until they have softened and caramelized. Next add in the celery, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, cayenne and paprika - cook until soft and fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and seafood stock to break up the roux and increase the heat to bring it to a boil. Once it’s reached a boil, decrease the heat and let simmer for five minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t stick.
Lower the heat and stir in the butter, then the crawfish tails, green onions, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. Taste for seasonings, then season with salt, pepper and creole seasoning as desired. If you want your etouffee to be thicker, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a small amount of cold water and add it to the pot, then increase the heat.
Once done, remove from heat and serve hot over rice.