Wow, Chef Paul Prudhomme ain’t messing around! *exhales flames* Yep, I found this recipe in the cookbook, “Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen.” I’ve been having a lot of fun trying to recreate some Cajun classics in my kitchen. Southern Louisiana is one of my very most favorite places in the world. I was first introduced to crawfish étouffée while staying at Madewood Plantation in Napoleonville for eight days last summer. I certainly can’t recreate the out-of-this-world atmosphere and sophisticated grace I experienced at Madewood, but I think I did a pretty good job imitating the way a true Cajun cooks. I would love to eventually spend my days tucked beneath the Spanish moss draped Live Oaks along Bayou Lafourche, but until then, I’ll have to settle for daydreaming while cooking to zydeco in my urban kitchen.
The most popular étouffée dish is made with crawfish tails, but any shellfish can be used. I order my crawfish from Randol’s in Lafayette, LA. They ship it to me packed on dry ice. It’s almost as good as fresh. Almost. It comes already peeled and in neat little 1 lb. sealed packages, and I just keep it in the freezer until I need it. I could go on and on about my love for Cajun food, but I’m just going to get right to it. So, without further ado: Crawfish étouffée.
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons cayenne (You might want to half this if you are sensitive to spicy food)
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup onions, medium dice
- 1/4 cup celery, medium dice
- 1/4 cup green bell peppers, medium dice
- 7 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I use lard)
- 3/4 cup AP flour
- 3 cups stock (I used the lobster base I had in my refrigerator, but a good homemade chicken stock would be even better. Actually, a good homemade seafood stock would even top that, but that’s an entirely different post and another day.)
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 lbs peeled crawfish tails
- 1 cup finely chopped green onions
- 4 cups long grain rice
- Whisk spices together in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine the onions, celery and bell pepper in a bowel and set aside.
- In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat the fat (oil or lard) until it starts to smoke. Slowly whisk in the flour and continue to whisk constantly until the roux is a dark red brown, about five minutes. Be careful to not let it burn! If you start to see dark specs in the roux, then it has burned, and you must start over.
- Remove from heat and immediately stir in the onion, celery and bell pepper mixture and one Tablespoon of the seasoning mix with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir for about five minutes or until it has cooled.
- In a separate 2 quart saucepan, bring 2 quarts of the stock to a boil over high heat. Gradually add the roux to the boiling stock and whisk until roux is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for about two minutes or until flour taste is gone.
- Over medium heat, melt 1 stick of butter in a separate 4 quart saucepan. Stir in the crawfish and green onions and saute for one or two minutes, stirring constantly. Add the remaining stick of butter, the remaining 1 cup of stock and the stock mixture. Cook until the butter melts and mixes into the sauce, about 4 to 6 minutes, constantly shaking the pan back and forth instead of stirring. This helps to keep the crawfish from breaking into little pieces. Add the remaining seasoning mix, stir well and remove from heat.
Mound 1/2 cup long-grain rice onto serving plate, and then ladle 3/4 cup of étouffée around the rice. Sprinkle thinly sliced green onion to garnish. Enjoy!