Musings from some former inhabitants of the sprawling metropolis that is Prudhomme City

Saturday, May 29, 2010

(Almost) My Daddy's Crawfish Étouffée Recipe

by CajunKate

So actually, this recipe is very close to my daddy’s. Daddy uses margarine, but I like butter. Try it both ways and see which you like better. I season with Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Seasoning, but any spice combo will do. Salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder are the main seasonings I would recommend. This recipe uses no cream of mushroom soup, no tomato, and no roux; it is all about the succulent crawfish. (Can I get an, “Amen!”?)

Serve it over Louisiana rice. FYI: I like Cajun Country Rice from Falcon Rice Mill in Crowley, Louisiana. My daddy was a farmer (rice, soybeans, & corn) in Acadia Parish, so I only use Louisiana rice. (If you use Minute Rice, for the love of God, I do not want to know this. If you’re my friend, it may be grounds for termination, and if you’re not my friend, likely I will never, ever speak to you.)

I also like to serve it over eggplant fries (as in the photo above). I get plenty of eggplant from my garden so it’s an awesome way to use it. But I must give credit where credit is due. I got the idea from D.C.’s Sports Bar & Steakhouse in Eunice, Louisiana. (I’d link to their website, but they don’t have one…No, seriously! They don’t!) D.C.’s serves it as an appetizer.

One last caveat, if you dare to use Chinese crawfish, I will know… and I will hunt you down… and there will be consequences and repercussions. Just say no to Chinese crawfish, people! LOUISIANA crawfish ONLY!

Without further ado, my version of Daddy’s Crawfish Étouffée :

  • 1 pound crawfish tails (If you have leftover tails from a boil, these are best! If not, packaged LOUISIANA crawfish ONLY!)
  • Tony Chachere’s seasoning
  • 5 or 6 tablespoons butter (Sometimes I pull a Paula Deen and use 7 or 8. What?)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (or more…or less. Whatever floats your boat. Experiment.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or more…or less. Whatever floats your boat. Experiment.)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper (or more…or less. Whatever floats your boat. Experiment.)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet bell pepper (or more…or less. Whatever floats your boat. Experiment. NOTE: This is a major adjustment to my daddy’s recipe, but I really like the added sweetness of it.)
  • 1 cup of liquids (Pssst! The secret ingredient is beer for part of the liquids. Daddy always uses beer. I do 1/2 cup beer & 1/2 cup water, but if you had some nice seafood or fish stock, I'd use that instead of water. Sometimes I use a bit more than a cup. It depends on how much sauce you like. If you’re serving over rice, a little more is usually better.)
  • Green onions, chopped, green part only (Just throw in a handful or two)
  • Italian parsley, minced (Just a bit for me; sometimes I just garnish with it. Some people like to add up to 1/2 a cup. Not me. Experiment.)

Season crawfish tails in a bowl.

Melt the butter and add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers, stirring constantly, and cook until wilted. This step is key. Do not rush it. Use a medium to medium high heat and really, really let them wilt down. Think it’s wilted enough? Go a little longer.

Add the beer and the water or stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add the crawfish and simmer another 15-20 minutes. Don’t go too long on this as you don’t want to overcook the crawfish and have them become tough.

Add onion tops and parsley and simmer 5 minutes more.

Ladle over Louisiana rice.


Serves four. [Or two, if you live at my house. We’re gluttons. ;-)]

* Addendum email from my daddy after he read this blog entry:

Tried to offer a comment on your blog about the étouffée (A2Fay), but am not smart enough to figure out how to do so.
Anyway, one thing to remember is that the crawfish are already cooked. So, that is the main reason not to cook them longer than what you prescribed. A few more helpful hints:
  • Not everyone has a rice cooker. An easy, simple way to do it, sans a rice cooker, is to use a small heavy duty sauce pot. Add a cup, or two, of medium grain rice (my preference over long grain,because medium grain, when done, doesn't separate like cooked long grain). Add a cup of raw rice to the sauce pot; this should give you about two cups of cooked rice. Add enough water so that it reaches the first joint of your index finger when placed just on top of the leveled rice. Turn heat on high. When the water begins to boil, lower the heat a bit to observe when its bubbles are coming from under the top rice level. When this occurs turn the heat on low, place lid on pot. Depending on the amount of rice you are preparing, it should be done in 15-20 minutes. Check, before turning off the heat, to insure that the rice is cooked by using a fork to turn over a bit of the top. If the rice appears to be still "wet," let go it a bit longer, and then check again. This sounds like a big production, but it isn't. I can give you one quick lesson, and you will be willing to try it instead of using a rice cooker.
  • The second thing is that, if you feel you have a bit too much liquid in the étouffée, you can thicken it. Thoroughly mix some corn starch with water, and add some to the étouffée. Let simmer for a short while to see if it thickens to your liking. If not, add a little more of the mix.
Incidentally, I like to use beer for my liquid. It sounds like a waste of beer but, in my opinion, really adds to the taste of the étouffée .

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