Monday, August 22, 2011

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe - Cajun Cuisine Diary, 2 VIDEOS

Cooking rice at eight years old? That's how Chef Tony Matassa started his culinary career in his parents' Louisiana Italian restaurant. Don't worry, he wasn't exploited - this was his natural calling from the beginning.

After cooking since childhood, he's now the spokesman (and makes videos with cooking tips - his YouTube channel is here.) for (link here.)

During my Louisiana vacation, I got to visit my nieces Maranda and Candyse. That's when I met Chef Tony for the first time - he is Candyse's boyfriend (and now husband.)

Hanging out, we went through Chef  Tony's vast culinary repertoire looking for recipes worthy of shooting, finally narrowing it down to a Cajun classic: Crawfish Etouffee. So for this cooking video, I'm stepping aside and letting a Cajun cuisine expert take over!

Candyse, Tony and the Chintzy Chef

A Louisiana Etouffee has a tomato and vegetable base -- it's like a thicker pasta sauce that is served over rice and can be made with any seafood and meat. And as Tony states in the video there are many versions, some with a roux (slow-cooked flour and oil) and some without. As with any regional recipe, every town or city will claim theirs is the best - hey, can't argue with that, as long as it's delish.

I thought it would be fun to use the local delicacy, crawfish. (In an earlier video I showed you where locals get them, and how to eat one. Click here to refresh your memory.)

For Chef Tony's recipe, he uses a pound of locally harvested, "partially" cooked, and peeled Crawfish tail meat. 

To make seafood Etouffee cheaply at home, I would use three thawed 5-ounce packages of bay shrimp (or scallops) from my local Alberson's market or 99c only Store. For an even cheaper version, use a pound of fake crab (Krab) -- or, you could even make a Chicken and Sausage Etouffee.

Chef Tony uses butter, which you can substitute with a small amount of a favorite oil. The Etouffee veggies are cheap anywhere - just bell pepper, tomato, onion, and garlic. He also added a seafood broth from a small can of oysters (whole or pieces), which I still find at my local 99c Only Store - you could substitute it with clam juice.

Alternate Seafood

You are in competent hands with Chef Tony, as he guides you through the steps of making a luscious Crawfish Etouffee. I've added a short video extra of  Chef Tony's Rice Recipe in the Hindsight section at the end of this blog post.

Also included are a few ingredient substitutions and shortcuts that make it cheaper or more convenient. Of course, Chef Tony would prefer you go his buttery way -- it tastes best.

To see a Louisiana chef in action, just click on the videos below to get the surprisingly easy instructions.
Crawfish Etouffee Recipe - Video

Play it here. The video runs 6 minutes, 57 seconds.

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.

Ingredients (2-3 servings)
  • 1 pound Crawfish Tails - Peeled and cooked. That is how they are sold in Louisiana. Look in the grocery freezer case to find packages. Okay to substitute with peeled shrimp. 
  • 1 whole Onion - diced.
  • 1 Bell Pepper - chopped and any color.
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes - or 1 large tomato, chopped. Okay to use 1 can of tomatoes or favorite pasta sauce.
  • 1 stick of Butter - to saute veggies. Okay to substitute with a tablespoon of oil for a lighter version.
  • 1/4 stick of Butter - optional. 1/4 stick of butter is added to Etouffee just before serving.
  • 2 cloves of Garlic - about a teaspoon, minced, or pre-chopped from the jar.
  • 3 Green Onions - sliced. Discard roots and old green ends - use white and light green parts.
  • 1/2 bunch of Parsley - chopped.
  • Juice from a small Can of Cooked Oysters or Clam Juice - If you are using fresh shrimp boil the shells in a cup of water, then remove the shells from the broth.
  • 2 cups of Water - for Etouffee broth.
  • 2 teaspoons of Cornstarch - into reserved 1/2 cup oyster/water broth.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning - optional.
  • 2 whole Bay Leaves.
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hot Sauce - optional.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

To a medium hot pot (or large skillet) add 1 stick of butter, and melt. (For a lighter version use a tablespoon of oil instead of butter).

Mix in chopped onion, tomato, and bell pepper, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

Now to make a simple seafood stock. Pour liquid from a can of cooked oysters into 2 cups of water (discard cooked oysters.) 

Okay to use about a half cup of clam juice, or a cup of stock from boiled shrimp shells. Set aside 1/2 cup of seafood stock for later.

Simmer veggies and oyster broth for about half an hour to bring all the flavors together.

Now time to add the seafood. Add 1 pound of peeled crawfish or shrimp.

Add 2 whole bay leaves. You can shake in a few shots of your favorite hot sauce - optional. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 more minutes at low heat.

Now we wrap it up. Add chopped green onions and parsley (I've also made it without these veggie additions.)

Spoon 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into 1/2 cup of reserved seafood broth -- blend well. Stir cornstarch liquid into the pot of broth, veggies, and crawfish. The sauce should start to thicken into a gravy after a couple of minutes. Let it cook for about five more minutes over low heat.

Just before serving, add 1/4 stick of butter to the sauce and stir until melted (or substitute a tablespoon of olive oil). Also, discard bay leaves.

Serve over white or brown rice. And get out the hot sauce and beer (or wine)!

Shortcuts include: leaving out parsley, green onions, Old Bay Seasoning, and canned oyster broth. You could also substitute flour for cornstarch. Chef Tony uses a lot of butter, I'm sure half the amount would work just fine.

You will need to cook an extra hour if you are making a Chicken and Sausage Etouffee. You want liquid in the sauce to reduce some and the chicken to cook all the way -- so simmering time may vary, depending on your pot and stovetop heat. Also, leave out oyster broth.

I would start the rice during the veggie simmering stage, either white or brown. Follow bag directions, or watch Chef Tony's Rice Recipe below.

Play it here. The video runs 1 minutes, 17 seconds.

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.


Kirill said...


paizley said...

Never ever use FAKE crab! Blasphemy!

99 Cent Chef said...

hi vncbme, then you're not as cheap as I am ;-p

paizley said...

@Billy That comes from living along the Gulf coast where I could go crabbing by scooping blue crabs right out of the water from the beach with a net and filling up a BIG Igloo cooler in 45 minutes. Spoiled, I guess. Lol.

99 Cent Chef said...

yeah, you live in the right spot, I grew up on blue crabs from the Gulf...the real thing is best ;-p

paizley said...

Unfortunately, I no longer live on the Gulf. I live in the high desert, Albuquerque, NM. But I can get live blue crabs year round here for only $3.99/lb and recently bought live crawfish for 5.99/lb! Even kept one for a pet. ☺

Unknown said...

Delicious!!! thanks for sharing the recipe.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...