“Geaux Tigers!” our three children shout from the living room. Our family has lived in Europe for over six years, but I still love meshing American traditions with Belgian culture. After a busy day of grocery shopping in the Netherlands, errand-running in Belgium, and art and gym lessons, my husband connects his computer to the television. By some magic (his information systems degree comes in handy in professional and personal realm) the TV roars into action at 4:00 p.m.
We have successfully made the kids fans of College Gameday and Lee Corso’s revealing of his favorite team by putting on the school’s mascot head has become a highlight of our Saturday evening. Because LSU has been doing, ahem, so well (Geaux Joe Beauraux) this season, we’ve been eating a ton of crawfish to celebrate. But it’s not just my Cajun-raised husband that loves it. Every time I bring this dish to an American Women’s Club potluck dinner, I get two-thumbs up-wow-you-brought-your-A-game-approval-status! It’s that good. You can find peeled crawfish (rivierkreeften) in all the Belgian grocery stores. They’re in a tiny box next to the tiny boxes of fresh shrimp (garnalen) and zeevruchten.
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 chopped bell pepper
I chopped onion
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped (for those less inclined to spice, take out the seeds and veins before chopping)
Salt to taste
Couple shakes of paprika
A shake or two of cayenne pepper (or for those lucky enough to have access, some Tony’s
Chachere’s spice works even better as a substitute for the above spices).
200 grams or 1/2 pound of peeled crawfish tails (2 packages of rivierkreeftjes)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I use one 185 g package of Philadelphia kruiden or bieslook in NL/BE)
2 cups of grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I use 200-gram package of shredded Pittig +45 kaas in
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream (kookroom)
1 Tbsp. (ml ) Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Tabasco (I found chipotle Tabasco at my Albert Heijn! I’m a Texan who likes to add a bit of it to
this Louisianan dish. V hasn’t complained.)
Juice of one lemon
In a medium-sized Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, jalapeño, salt, black pepper. Cook until vegetables are a little softened, about six minutes. Add paprika and cayenne pepper (or Tony’s) and cook 1 more minute.
Lower heat to low and add crawfish, cream cheese, cheddar cheese (or pittig +45), and cream cheese. Stir and slowly melt cheese, combining all ingredients. Add Worcestershire sauce and tabasco. Once all ingredients are melted and combined, transfer to a bowl and serve immediately or use a crock pot to keep warm and serve throughout an evening. Don’t forget to add the juice of a lemon before serving with crackers, baguette slices, or even tortilla chips in a Tex-Mex style.