I moved to Louisiana for the food, but more specifically, the crawfish. There, I said it. I’ve come clean. Louisiana, amidst all of its fantastic attractions in music, food, and culture, cannot hide from its culinary Prom Queen, the crawfish. Crawfish are cute and always ready to greet you with their out-stretched arms although they may be…pointy. They’ve been famously photographed pinching the noses of local dogs, or providing a stand-off between dog and crawfish. They’ve got balls, they’ve got character, and if they could talk (or at least be immortalized in some Disney cartoon), I am certain they would sound like a feisty Frenchman, or a swarthy fisherman.
Anyone who is from Louisiana knows that its prized crawfish is a spectacularly unique crustacean, unlike its lobster cousin, and every bit like Louisiana. When cooking crawfish, local cooks typically flavor the shellfish with tons of spices. Garlic, cayenne, salt, pepper, and Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning are amongst the most commonly used ones. Lobster, on the other hand, is rarely spiced when cooked and doesn’t require as much flavoring. Crawfish refuses to be dipped simply in butter and boiled, crawfish demands a show of spicy fireworks, after all, it was born in Louisiana.
There are numerous recipes for my favorite crustacean available on this blog, but I must salute my most recent love affair with my companion the crawfish: Crawfish Gumbo. This recipe is so Louisiana–filled with chopped onion, celery, garlic, and pepper, and browned in a dark roux with the promise of crawfish tails and sausage to keep these ingredients company. In fact, this crawfish gumbo is Louisiana.
So, for the second day in a row, I turn to Jaden Hair for her guidance with cooking and this crawfish gumbo. Jaden’s blog specializes in Asian-inspired cuisines, but like any recipe developer, her blog is filled with other kinds of dishes including this crawfish gumbo.
This recipe comes from Jaden Hair over at TLC Kitchens. You can find her original here. I’ve increased the portion of meat and crawfish and added half of a red pepper.
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 1/4 cup flour, all purpose
* 2 stalks celery, diced
* 1/2 green pepper, chopped
* 1/2 red pepper, chopped
* 1/2 onion, diced
* 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
* 1-2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (to taste); I prefer Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
* 1-2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
* 4 cups seafood, chicken, or vegetable stock or broth
* 1 cup okra chopped and cooked
* 1 cup sausage, cooked and thinly sliced
* 1- 1 1/2 pounds crawfish tails, cooked
* 1 stalk green onion, chopped
* rice, for serving
1.) Begin by making a roux: add flour and butter in oversized dutch oven. Whisk flour into butter as it melts and allow to simmer on low heat until roux has become dark brown (about 10 minutes).
2.) Chop okra, green onion, garlic, celery, onion, and peppers. Set aside.
3.) When roux is sufficiently dark, add celery, onion, and peppers. Simmer in roux for 4-6 minutes, or until tender.
4.) Add okra, green onion, sausage, and crawfish. Mix to combine.
5.) Add seafood stock (can use chicken or vegetable), tomato paste, and seasonings. I use the above suggested Tony’s Cajun Seasoning, but also mix in cayenne for heat. Mix to combine and adjust seasonings as your palette sees fit. Turn heat to medium, cover dutch oven, and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200F.
6.) Stir occasionally as gumbo forms and when it has simmered for 20 minutes, move pot to oven covered. Now, you can allow the gumbo to sit, stay warm, and continue to darken for as long as you like. I’ve left a covered dutch oven with gumbo in the oven for 2 hours to 4 hours. The gumbo won’t reduce by very much and the flavors will continue to melt together. Serve with Rice.
Enjoy! Makes 12-15 servings.
Written by: Helana Brigman