The most glorious of Cajun dishes
- 6 pounds crawfish, boiled in a typical style.
- You will need the crawfish tails and fat from all, all the shell scraps and the intact head (thorax) from about 60.
- Water to make a stock.
- For the Stuffing:
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 large onion, finely diced, save scraps
- 1/2 bell pepper, finely diced, save scraps, The other half is used below.
- 1 rib celery, finely diced, save scraps
- 3/4 cup crawfish stock, you will be making this
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 2 cups bread crumbs, French bread preferred, Italian seasoned would be fine
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley, save the stems
- 1/4 cup minced green onions tops, save the root ends
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 60 cleaned crawfish heads from above
- Flour for rolling the heads
- For the Bisque:
- 1/4 cup oil,
- 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 large onion, finely diced, save the scraps and skins
- 1/2 bell pepper, finely diced, save the scraps.
- 2 ribs celery, finely diced, save the scraps
- 4 garlic toes, minced
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- Crawfish stock (you will be making this)
- (taste the stock and adjust salts and peppers accordingly)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Tony C's
- 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, may be thyme, oregano, basil
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions, saving the root end for stock
- 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, save the stems for stock
- Peel the crawfish, save the tails in one container and save the fat in another, (The fat is a small yellow gelatinous glob on or near the tail or inside the shell. It is full of flavor and very important for best taste). Keep the heads in one piece and clean the head out completely, removing the eyes and antennae. Each head should be a cleaned three sided tube, open on both ends. We will stuff these tubes later. Refer to the second picture above.
- Take about 30 tails, and rough chop them in large chunks for the stuffing. Divide the crawfish fat in half. Leave the rest of the tails whole for the bisque.
- Reserving your 5 dozen intact and cleaned heads for stuffing later, place the crawfish shells and scraps into a stock pot along with onion scraps, bell pepper scraps and celery scraps. Add the green onion root ends and the parsley stems. Fill with water until covered by an inch. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, allow to simmer uncovered for one hour. After one hour, pour this liquid through a colander placed over a pot to save the liquid, which is now your crawfish stock. Discard the solids.
- While the stock is simmering, you can make your stuffing.
- Use the ingredients listed under stuffing for the next steps.
- Heat the oil in a heavy (cast iron) pot. Add the flour and stir constantly over medium high heat to blonde roux. Add the diced onion, bell pepper and celery to your roux. Cook for about five minutes to soften.
- Lower the heat to simmer. Add the crawfish tails (the chopped ones) and half the crawfish fat. Stir to mix, allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Add the stock, it is okay to scoop out 3/4 of a cup of not quite finished stock if your stock is still simmering. Avoid any solids when doing this.
- Add salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, green onion, and butter. Mix thoroughly and adjust the consistency by adding more stock or more breadcrumbs if necessary.
- Stuff the heads and roll lightly in flour.
- Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or pan fry in oil until stuffing is golden brown.
- Use the ingredients listed under Bisque for the next steps.
- Heat the oil, butter and flour in heavy cast iron pot, stirring constantly over medium high heat until light brown. Add onions, bell pepper, and celery. Cook for 5 minutes to soften the vegetables. Add the garlic, stir to mix, cook for one more minute, then add as much of the crawfish stock you just made as you need to get the proper consistency. Add the tomato sauce, (some people don't use the tomato, but I like the red color instead of brown. Do it your way). Add salt and peppers and herbs. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add all the whole crawfish, and the remaining crawfish fat. Add any leftover stuffing to the bisque. This will just dissolve into the gravy and add body and flavor. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the stuffed heads (hot from oven or fryer) being gentle not to un-stuff your heads and leave the heat on simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add the green onion and parsley and cover. Allow to sit for five minutes. One final stir and serve.
- Revised 4-6-15, made and approved 4-11-2015