My husband (I like to call him Chief) has eaten at some great restaurants all over the world. Whenever he'd call me from Paris or London, Africa or Sweden, I'd always ask where and what he'd eaten lately. He would tell me about the great steak in London at Gaucho Grill or the lutefisk (OK, so he wasn't a big fan) in Norway, or the odd offerings at one of the little places in Equatorial Guinea. While I listened to his tales of culinary adventure, I was many times on a adventure of mine own- in my kitchen staring at the pantry wondering what on earth I could eat that required absolutely no more energy to prepare than the tearing open of a bag. Why cook when the Chief isn't here to eat? I am not above eating the last remnants of a bag of chocolate chips or the dregs left in the bottom of the Cheese Nips package for dinner. I have made many a meal with a jar of Nutella and a banana, or some stale crackers and peanut butter. By the way-a bit of advice- DO NOT buy the big humongous jars of peanut butter at Sam's if you are the only person in your house who eats it. By the time you've eaten about 1/3 of it, the rest has gone rancid. Rancid peanut butter does nothing to improve the taste of stale crackers. Just sayin'... By all this I mean the Chief has been around the block when it comes to good food and high quality restaurants, even if my culinary background is less "international" and more "pantry". That's why when he puts his stamp of approval on something I create it must be pretty darn tasty. So I figured while my head was still fairly inflated from his compliment, I would share the recipe with you. Throw out the peanut butter people, this is gonna be good!
Lu's Crawfish Etouffee
1 stick butter (I know, I know, this is awful)
1/2 c. flour
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped bell pepper (I use a combination of red, yellow, and orange)*
1 lb. peeled crawfish tails (just buy them in a bag in the frozen food section)
2 bay leaves (fresh is best)**
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. Better than Bouillon Chicken flavor (I love this stuff!)***
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. chopped green onions.
Melt the butter in a dutch oven over med-high heat. Add the flour and cook until the roux is about the color of the peanut butter I told you to throw out earlier. This could take 10-20 minutes. Stir constantly. Do not take a break from stirring and burn your roux. This is a sin in Louisiana. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper and saute until soft. About 10 minutes.
Add the crawfish and the bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally about 10-12 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and the Better than Bouillon and season with salt and the cayenne to your taste. Stir until it thickens, about 5-8 minutes. Add the green onions and cook about 2 or 3 more minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.
*I am not a big fan of green bell peppers- use whatever color floats your boat.
**I had a bay laurel bush in the backyard at my old house, and forgot to take a cutting when we moved. Since I doubt the current owner would appreciate me stopping by to pick a few leaves, I used dried ones from the store.
***Find this great stuff on the soup aisle!