Peak season for crawfish has started for the year and my husband couldn’t be more excited. He adores these “mud bugs” made famous in Cajun cuisine. I have actually never tried crawfish before so I’ve been promising to make this dish. For this first tasting, I chose to purchase the crawfish tail meat in a package. I am still uncertain about the live version and the whole idea of sucking the heads. I should probably admit this now and get it out of the way. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to seafood versus fresh water food. I have no problem breaking into crab legs, lobster, clams and mussels. But the idea of eating these crawfish that have spent their time in muddy rivers is not high on my priority list.
Anyway, I do love making Cajun dishes because the process of cooking those dishes is full of history and tradition. The word étouffée is of French origin and translates to smothered or suffocated. This delicious mix of shellfish and vegetables in a roux gravy is served over rice (i.e. smothering the rice). One of the greatest things about Cajun food is their use of a roux (pronounced “roo”). A roux is made by heating a fat such as oil or butter and then whisking in flour until the mixture browns and becomes thick. The other interesting tradition is the use of what Cajuns call the “holy trinity” — a combination of onion, celery and bell pepper.
For the crawfish étouffée, you will need to gather the following ingredients.
NOTE: I used dried parsley since that is what I had. If you need to do this, always use a smaller amount of dry herbs than fresh herbs. Dried herbs are concentrated so they have a stronger taste.
I really enjoyed this dish! The crawfish was yummy and I think I’m on my way to trying fresh mud bugs in the near future. To be continued…
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1 cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
- 1/2 cup Bell Pepper, Seeded And Chopped
- 1/2 cup Celery, Thinly Sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic, Finely Chopped
- 1 pound Crawfish Tails
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1 whole Bay Leaf
- 1/3 cup Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
- 1 cup Chicken or Vegetable Broth
- 1-2 cups Hot Water
- 2 cups Prepared Rice
- Prepare the onion, bell pepper, celery, parsley and garlic by removing any seeds and chopping into small pieces; set aside.
- In a heavy cast iron pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.
- Make a roux by gradually adding the flour to the oil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook until a medium brown roux is formed.
- Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, parsley and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the crawfish tails, salt, black pepper thyme, bay leaf and green onions. Mix well.
- Add broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer about 12 minutes until the crawfish tails are tender.
- Continue to stir as you gradually add 1-2 cups of hot water to create the gravy.
- Serve over prepared rice and garnish with parsley.