Monday, May 12, 2014

Southern Cooking

This past weekend I used up the last of the crawfish from S's brother's birthday celebration a few weeks ago to try my  hand at a classic southern dish - crawfish etouffee!  We invited a friend over to taste test with us and rounded out the meal with a delicious garlicky kale salad that I've mentioned before (it is S's new favorite - he requests it regularly!) and a tasty alcoholic drink concoction.  Last week's cocktail of the week was a Pineapple Mint Punch!
Since pineapple is S's favorite fruit, it really was a red-letter dinner for him!  The punch was delicious flavor-wise, but I have 2 recommendations if you try to make it yourself.  1. Use a stick blender, or even a regular blender, to muddle/crush the pineapple.  A cocktail muddler does not work.  2. Strain the punch through a fine mesh strainer before serving.  The pulp was a bit heavy.  Or better yet, combine my two recommendations into one and if you have a juicer, just use that to get the juice out of the pineapple...
But back to the etouffee!  It was SO darn tasty!  I based my version off of this recipe on Saveur, but I made a few modifications to both account for my food sensitivities (tomato and peppers) and to make it a tad healthier (and if you don't have crawfish tails handy, this would work just as well with shrimp!).  Here's my version that I HIGHLY recommend!

Crawfish Etouffee

4 slices turkey bacon, finely chopped
8 tbsp. unsalted butter (that's one whole stick!)
6 scallions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped (I used 3/4 as my onion was quite large)
1 large zucchini, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp. finely chopped thyme
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup flour
2 ½ cups fish or chicken stock (I used chicken)
2 lb. parcooked peeled crawfish tails (or peeled, deveined, tail off shrimp)
⅓ cup half and half
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
⅓ cup finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
Cooked brown rice

Heat turkey bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat until browned and crispy, 3 minutes. Add butter, scallions, garlic, celery, onions, and zucchini; cook until soft, 7 or so minutes. Stir in thyme, paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, bay, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until reduced by one-third, 12 minutes. Add crawfish; cook until hot. Stir in half and half, Worcestershire, and parsley; serve over brown rice.  Yum!

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