Crawfish BisqueIf, as I contend, Crawfish Etoufee is the simplest South Louisiana dish to prepare then Crawfish Bisque is the most difficult. It is time intensive and complicated, requiring numerous steps and careful maintenence. I have cooked it a few times but really not enough to get a good feel for the recipe.
It takes a lot of steps but can be prepared over the course of several days - boiling the crawfish on one, cooking the bisque another, etc. - refrigerating each part in between and assembling the final product by reheating just before serving.
Boil water in a large pot adding the salt before it begins to heat. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the water and throw the halves in also.
Peel the tails and clean the heads. Reserve any fat in a container. Two-thirds of the tail meat will be used in the stuffing mix and one third will be used in the bisque itself. Take two thirds of the heads (actually the thorax or body) and set aside. Take the final third of the head shells and the tail shells and reserve separately.
Put the shells and the water in a large stockpot and heat to a gentle boil. Let cook for approximately an hour, strain the stock and let cool. Discard the shells.
Clean the crawfish heads so the shells are empty and clear. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large saucepan heat the oil over a medium-hot flame. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and parsley and cook until soft, between 8 and 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Put the vegetables in a large mixing bowl and add the crawfish meat, green onions, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, lemon juice, Worstershire sauce and salt. Mix until uniform. Add the bread crumbs reserving half a cup and mix in as well. Finally, add the crawfish fat with a bit of warm water and mix until it reaches the consistency for handling and shapes easily (any left over can go into the bisque).
Stuff the individual crawfish heads with the stuffing mix so it bulges out of the opening. Roll them in the additional bread crumbs and set them on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, take out of the oven and let cool.
With the cup of peanut oil and the cup of flour make a golden brown roux. Set aside.
In a large stock pot, add a few teaspoons of oil and heat over medium high flame. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic and steam covered but stirring regularly until soft, about 8 minutes.
Add the roux and let completely dissolve then add the crawfish fat, the cayenne pepper, the bay leaf, the Worstershire sauce and the salt & pepper. Mix until uniform.
Add two quarts of the stock slowly stirring constantly. Then add the other two quarts but only after it has been heated. Let it reach a boil then turn the heat to low and let cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Add the lemon slices, stuffed crawfish heads and the remaining crawfish tails and let cook another ten minutes.
Serve over rice.
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