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Subject: SEAFOOD: Crawfish Etouffee
Crawfish Etouffee
1/2 c oil or margarine
1/2 flour
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
3 fat cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 c fairly rich shrimp broth
1 T lemon
1/2 c crawfish fat (substitute 3-4 T  crawfish liquid or crawfish stock)*
1 T lemon juice
1 t salt (omit if using crawfish stock)
1 T fresh parsley (1 t dried)
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t thyme
1 bay leaf
1 lb frozen crawfish, all liquid included
2 large scallion tops, sliced cooked
 converted rice
Make a medium dark roux by whisking the flour into the oil over 
medium heat and cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture 
celery and garlic, andsautee over medium low heat until vegetables      
 are tender, about 10 minutes.  
Slowly add the shrimp stock, and bring to a boil.  Lower heatto a simmer, 
and add lemon juice, crawfish fat/stock/liquid, and thespices.   
Simmer 15 minutes.  
Add the crawfish and any liquid, bring toa rapid simmer, reduce to a low
 simmer, add the scallions, 
and simmerjust until the crawfish are tender, about 10 minutes. 
To serve, mound some rice in a plate, and ladle some ofthe etouffee
 on top.  
This recipe makes about 4 servings.
Note:  Crawfish fat gives the dish its characteristic flavor. 
 In NewOrleans, it can be bought in the stores, but it's tough to
 findelsewhere, so substitute. 
 If you do find it, keep it refrigerated, asit is very perishable.  
By crawfish liquid, I mean any run 
off fromfrozen crawfish.  Whenever you use crawfish for another
 reason (makingCajun popcorn, say), 
you should save any liquid from the inside of thepackage that
 remains after defrosting.  This liquid
 is mainly water,but it will be orange in color from the crawfish
 fat and meat.Finally, to make crawfish
 stock, take a dozen or so crawfish heads leftover from a crawfish
 boil, and cover with some of the 
left over cookingliquid or water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer,
 and cook forseveral hours. 
 At the end of simmering, strain the stock, and reducein half. 
 Be careful when using this stock 
because it will be verysalty.  Omit any salt from the recipe, and
 adjust at the end.-
-----------------End Recipe----------------------

The following is a recipe for Crayfish Etouffee I cannot purchase fresh crawfish, locally, so Isubstitute shrimp for the crawfish ... its real good! The recipe isprinted exactly as it appears; my changes and comments are included atthe end. Crayfish Etouffee =================The word etouffee comes from the French word for "smother" and in thisrecipe, it refers to be smothered by a sauce. This dish, as with alltraditional Cajun dishes, begins with a roux - or the browning of flour in a fat or oil for use as a thickening agent. INGREDIENTS=========== 4 teaspoons Louisiana Hot Sauce 1 small Bell pepper, diced 1/3 cup vegetable oil1/4 cup flour 1 medium onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 stalks celery, diced 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped 1 cup fish stock or clam juice 1/2 teaspoon basil 1/4 teaspoon thyme 1 bay leaf freshly ground black pepper 1 pound crayfish, peeled 1/2 cup chopped scallions, including the greens PROCEDURE========= To make the roux: Heat oil in a heavy skillet until hot . Gradually stir in the flour and stir constantly until the mixture turns brown. Be very careful you don't burn roux.Saute the onions, garlic, celery, and Bell pepper in the roux for five minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, basil, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to aboil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for fifteenminutes or until it thickens to a sauce.Add the hot sauce, crayfish, and scallions and simmer for anadditional five minutes or until the crayfish/shrimpare cooked. Remove the bay leaf and serve.Serving Suggestions: Serve with celery seed coleslaw, green beans, ======== and corn bread.Variations: Use shrimp or lobster meat in place of the crayfish= COMMENTS: 1. For the inexperienced, making the roux can be tricky ... be certain stir the roux constantly (I mean constantly!) or it will burn (if you see dark flecks forming in the roux, its burnt and it is best to throw it out and start over). Think of it this way - until you've done it a few times, operate under the following edict: "You can't stir the roux too much" Cook roux until it turns "peanut butter brown" or darker.2. Use only fresh tomatoes, even if they're the supermarket hothouse variety. The first few times I made this stuff it was awful; I later learned why - I had substituted canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes.3. Instead of the required thyme, and basil try substituting the following: one tablespoon of Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic. Also, amount of increase Louisiana Hot Sauce to two tablespoons; in its original form, this recipe is pretty tame!4. Serve over cooked rice with homemade biscuits. -------------------------End Recipe--------------------------

Gumbo can be many things. I learned to make it using Paul Prudhomme'sfirst book. Other Louisiana and southern cookbooks should have it, as should Joy of Cooking books. However, as a simple (and rough) starter:Gumbo is a rich cajun soup, thickened either with a) okra, b) a roux,or c) file' powder (ground sassafrass leaves). Of course, these can becombined.I have made all types, but the easy one to make is the roux based. Pay attention and read through before attempting, you'll need to rearrangethe steps to make it efficient. Start with oil and flour (approx 2 Tbs each). Heat the oil in thebottom of your soup pot, then add the flour. Stir the flour brisklyand brown the roux. It's faster to do over high heat BUT it's easierto mess it up. Prudhomme has a section on making roux that discussesthis. Be careful to not get any on you or you'll find out why it' scalled "cajun napalm". Take it off the heat if it gets too hot untilit cools down.As soon as the roux is medium to dark brown (don't scorch the flour oryou'll need to start all over), throw in your diced onion, greenpepper, and celery (the sacred trinity in cajun cooking). These shouldstop the roux from cooking. How much? About an onion, a green pepper,and two or three stalks of celery. About two cups diced, combined.Stir around. The roux should have been smelling wonderful and oncethese vegetables hit the roux the smell becomes almost unbearablygood. Garlic, two cloves or so, minced, can go in now, too. Let cooktill the vegetables get soft, a couple of minutes. The heat can go tomedium now (you did the roux over high heat, being adventurous, didn'tyou?). You prepared a seasoning mix of thyme, oregano, basil, red(cayenne) pepper, black pepper, and white pepper that can be thrown inwhen the vegetables get soft. About 2tsp to a 1Tbs each of the herbs,1/4 to 1/2 tsp each of the peppers. I sometimes add sage, omit theoregano and basil, or otherwise play with the ingredients. This isalso the time to add some fresh chopped parsley (all too oftenneglected and some chopped green onion. Both are optional, both aregood. When this hits the roux/vegetable mixture your nose will go intocomplete ecstasy. You should also add a Tbs of Worcestershire sauce(sp?) and Tabasco to taste. Thyme, Wor. sauce and Tabasco are theother sacred trinity of cajun cooking. Now it's time to get to themeat of the matter (pun intended). Break: Gumbo can be based on any number of things. Seafood isclassic, with shrimp, oysters, crab, or fish in any combination. Chicken can also serve as a base. Sausage is almost mandatory, if youcan't get andouille (I can't) then a good smoked sausage will do. Forhealth reasons I've been using turkey sausage lately. (Turkey) Ham cango in. I've even made a seven-steak gumbo (from Prudhomme, again). Ifyou're gonna add chicken, you should have browned the diced chicken inthe oil, then removed it before you made the roux. The diced chicken,sausage, and/or ham should go in now. The seafood goes in after thestock.Back to the gumbo, now that you've added any meat you want, you shouldlet it get warm and lightly browned in the roux mixture, then it's timeto add the stock. If this is a seafood gumbo, you should use a seafoodstock. If you've crab, shrimp, or fish to add the shells and/or bonesshould have been used to make a rich stock earlier. I'm talking aredolent, aromatic blend of celery tops, onion parts, bay leaf, etcsimmered in water and the fish parts for at least an hour, thenstrained. Oyster liquor is added if available. You'll want like fourcups or so. If you're using sausage, ham, and/or chicken, the bones ofthe chicken that you diced should have been subjected to the sameprocedure to make a stock. The richer, the better. You can always usesome beer or wine to add more flavor. Avoid, if at all possible, thestore bought stock. Anyways, add the four cups of stock. Or, if you want, make theroux/vegetable mixture in a skillet and add to the already heated stockin the soup pot. Now, if you've got them, add shrimp, crab, fish,oysters, clams, whatever. Simmer for an hour or so. Serve some ricein a bowl, ladle gumbo over it. Voila'. You can sprinkle file' powder over as a seasoning, to taste. ----------------------------End Recipe------------------------