This American college football season has been a celebration of crawfish (rivierkreeftjes) in our home. Every LSU gameday, we’ve enjoyed both Crawfish dip and Crawfish Étouffée (and as I native Texan I admit I’m still trying to learn how to spell that word, but that’s less important than knowing how to cook it, I suppose.)
I’ve tweaked and perfected the recipe throughout the season. Now, with the LSU-Clemson National Championship a mere few days away. . . I’m proud to present my game-winning recipe. My Dutch-born, Louisianan-raised husband assisted and approves.
You know I’ve got the rivierkreeftjes ready to go for the Monday night (okay, 2:00 a.m. Tuesday morning) game. We’ll be cheering from Belgium and thinking about all our friends in New Orleans and Baton Rouge and sending lots of love to our family in Lafayette. Geaux Tigers!
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) Paprika
2 tsp. (10 ml) kosher salt
1 tsp. (5 ml) black pepper
1 tsp. (5 ml) dried thyme
1 tsp. (5 ml) cayenne pepper
(Note: you can use quite a few shakes of Tony Chachere’s to supplement the above. I just don’t think there’s really any limit to the amount of spice you can add to a Cajun dish)
3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 green bell pepper, seeds and veins removed and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chopped (for those less inclined to spice, take out the seeds and veins before chopping)
1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) of seafood stock (or you can use vis bullion in Europe)
200 grams (2 packages of rivierkreeftjes) or 1/2 pound of peeled crawfish tails (Of course, you can always use more, even up to a pound, depending on your budget and whether crawfish are in or out of season)
1/4 cup (10 grams) chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
3 stalks of green onions, chopped
Cooked white rice
Hot sauce, such as Tabasco
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir well to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring until roux is the color of caramel, about 20 minutes. (Don’t burn the roux! This is a slow. . . southern process, like risotto. Don’t rush perfection. And if your household is anything like mine, delegate. Give your husband a beer and tell him to stir!)
Once the roux is ready, add bell pepper, celery, and onion. (For those of you who are new to Cajun cooking, these three vegetables are the trifecta).
Cook vegetables, stirring constantly until they are tender (about 10 minutes). Add garlic, jalapeño and the spices (paprika, salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne and/or a few shakes of Tony’s). Cook another couple of minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes and juice and stir until incorporated.
Gradually whisk in the fish stock. (Key word, gradually – I did it all at once back in September and it just it still worked. . . but not really).
Return to a simmer over medium-high and stir in crawfish, parsley, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Cook until warm (another 2 or 3 minutes). Serve with hot rice, chopped green onions, and hot sauce.