In Louisiana, crawfish season signals the arrival of spring. This classic Cajun étouffée starts with a simply seasoned roux. Enriched with crawfish fat, the recipe closely resembles the original 20s dish created by Mrs. Charles Hebert at the eponymous Breaux Bridge Hebert Hotel. A longtime Lenten favorite, crawfish étouffée has inspired dozens of variations including Creole versions that add tomatoes. Mrs. Hebert did not.
4 pounds peeled crawfish tails with fat
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
3 large green bell peppers, chopped
1 bunch green onions with tops, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup heavy cream
Hot cooked rice
How to Make It
Sprinkle the crawfish with the hot sauce and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the red pepper.
Stir together the oil and flour in a 4-quart Dutch oven. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, 10 to 15 minutes or until the roux is the color of a penny.
Stir in the celery and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the crawfish and 1/2 cup water; cook over low, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
Stir in the salt, black pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and cream. Serve over the rice.