Crawfish are back, enjoy a soup; pie

Published 12:05 am Saturday, March 29, 2014

Crawfish are back and I always enjoy trying new recipes for these little mudbugs, although the price is higher this year.

Some interesting facts I happened upon regarding Louisiana crawfish: the first recorded crawfish harvest was in 1880 and it was 11.7 tons; in 2011, the crawfish harvest was 63,200 tons; 95 percent of U.S. harvested crawfish is from Louisiana; in 2013, the economic impact to Louisiana was $300 million; 70 percent of Louisiana’s crawfish is eaten locally; and just a final note of interest, Sonya Thomas won the 2013 Rouse’s Crawfish Eating World Championship by eating 3 pounds, 3 ounces (peeled and eaten) in 10 minutes, no less.

While most U.S. crawfish comes from the Bayou State, much of the remainder comes from China. Don’t be fooled by crawfish labeled with a Cajun-sounding name and a picture of Louisiana. Check the fine print for the country of origin.

I tried a crawfish soup lately, which was very good. My only suggestion is to add the crawfish closer to the end of the cooking, since cooking them for 30 minutes seems to make them somewhat smaller and tough.

From Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine, March/April 2014

Crawfish Soup

Makes about 12 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped carrot

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used canned whole tomatoes drained)

6 cups chicken broth

1 (16-ounce) package crawfish tails

½ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (I haven’t planted mine yet this year. I’ve started the tomatoes and should have started the basil.)

1 teaspoon hot sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup heavy whipping cream

In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper and carrot. Cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, and crawfish. Bring to a boil. Add lemon juice, parsley, basil, hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Reduce to a simmer, and simmer 26-30 minutes. Stir in cream. Serve immediately.

Crawfish pies

These crawfish pies look just perfect for my next coffee hour in April.

From Louisiana Cookin’, March/April 2014.

Mini Crawfish Pies

Makes 24 pies

1 (14.1ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts

½ (16-ounce) package thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/8-inch pieces

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons chopped chives (Mine are up and large enough to use.)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup milk

2 large eggs

½ (16-ounce) package crawfish tails, chopped

Preheat oven to 375°. Unroll piecrusts on a lightly floured work surface. Cut 24 (3 ½-inch) circles from crusts, and press into 24 mini muffin cups. Prick sides and bottom of crusts with a fork.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until bacon is cooked and crisp, 22-24 minutes. In a medium bowl, add bacon, cheese, chives, flour, salt, pepper, milk and eggs. Whisk to combine. Gently stir in crawfish to combine. Divide mixture evenly among crusts.

Bake on bottom oven rack until lightly golden and puffy, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.