Crawfish Etouffee

If there is one thing my oldest loves, it has got to be crawfish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but he’s my pickiest of eaters, 16 now, and when he tore into eating crawfish years ago I was flabbergasted. So on his most recent birthday I decided we would do a crawfish boil. I ordered 10 pounds of live crawfish from the Louisiana Crawfish Company figuring the ‘party’ would devour the boil. As much as my kids and I ate, the others simply ate a small handful, meaning I would plenty leftover. My kids and I probably spent a good 45 minutes, post party, peeling (and sucking the head juices) the tails to be used for a later dish. That dish being crawfish etouffe.

Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

If you have never heard, nor tried crawfish etoufee, it is a standard dish found in the creole or cajun area of our nation. It’s almost a staple. Etouffee is translated to ‘smother’ in French terms, and I make mine with a darker roux only to deepen the flavor and making this a super comforting recipe.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing

Sounds like a bunch of stuff, but it’s really pretty basic, and trust me it’s full of comfort.

Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.

Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.

Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.

Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.

Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.

Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.

So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

As much as my kids loved tearing through boiled crawfish, I cannot say they were much fans of this particular dish. Most likely due to the stew like texture. My wife and I on the other hand? Well, we imagined ourselves being back in New Orleans, walking the streets all day, and ending up in a great restaurant eating one of their famous dishes; crawfish etouffee.  I hope you enjoy!

Crawfish Etouffee
Author: 
Cuisine: Cajun or Creole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1½ cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.
  2. Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.
  3. Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.
  4. Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.
  5. Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.
  6. Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.
  7. So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

 

Beer Braised Taquitos

The taquito. What’s not to love? It’s one of those menu items that often gets overlooked due to all of the other delicious items on a Mexican restaurant’s menu, but take a pause, slow down, and look at that name. The taquito. Some know the taquito as a flauto. Fine. But at the end of the day, the taquito is essentially a corn tortilla stuffed with meat and cheese, and typically deep fried. It’s crisp. It’s perfect, and I’m pretty sure I do not know anyone that would not pick one of these up and devour it. This is how my taquito started. A mistake if you will, but a great mistake at that.

Beer Braised Beef Taquito Recipe
Beer Braised Beef Taquito Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs beef chuck roast, exterior fat trimmed and removed
  • 12 oz can of your favorite beer (I used Oskar Blues Priscilla)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 package of fresh corn tortillas
  • 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • cooking spray
  • Guacamole, optional
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Your favorite hot sauce or salsa, optional

This is a slow cooker recipe, however if you decide to braise, by all means get in and go for it.

I initially started this slow cooked beef as my wife wanted kebobs on the grill one weekend. Well, time got away from me, and as I was not up for kebabs on the grill (laziness), I made something else, but decided I would add keep the beef cooking and use it the following day. Did I mention I love the slow cooker?

Start by cubing your beef. It does not matter how large or small. This stuff is going to cook for more than eight hours, if not longer. Did I mention I love the slow cooker?

Add the beef, along with the salt, pepper, and beer to the slow cooker. Set to low. Forget about it for about 6-14 hours, then return to it.

Slow Cooked Beer Braised Beef Taquitos Recipe
Slow Cooked Beer Braised Beef Taquitos Recipe

With a slotted spoon, or spider, strain the beef, reserving about 1 cup of the liquid mixture, add in the garlic powder, and shred the beef with a couple of forks. It should be falling apart tender.

Add in the reserved liquid, stir, and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take your package of corn tortillas, add them to a plate, and microwave them for about 1 minute.

Remove and cover with a clean towel, or place into your tortilla warmer.

Take a tortilla, add some shredded beef, a bit of cheese, and roll into a log. Place onto a baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with all tortillas, beef, and cheese.

Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and place into the preheated oven, and cook until golden brown, roughly 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to overcook.

Remove, and serve with your favorite side items.

The end result is not only an awesome taquito, but when taking a bite has you thinking ‘what the heck is that flavor in that beef?!’. Yep, that’s the beer, and the salt and garlic. It’s pretty slick to say the least.

So if you are looking for a great snack, lunch, or dinner, heck even breakfast, these taquitos are your go to. Hope you enjoy!

Chinese Orange Chicken

It was not too long ago when we went to visit my wife’s uncle who was in town visiting. Chinese food was on the menu, and there was one thing, the orange chicken, where I could not get enough of. There is something about this Chinese orange chicken that just has you coming back for more. I’m not sure if it is the sauce, or the crispy nuggets of chicken. Heck, it’s probably the combination that got me. So after I have made lemon chicken, which is somewhat similar, I decided to take my stab at making this delicious recipe.

Chinese Orange Chicken Recipe
Chinese Orange Chicken Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups of canola oil, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ½ cup corn starch, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
  • 3 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • ½ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • zest of 2 oranges, juice of 1 orange
  • Cooked jasmine rice

Start by making the sauce. To a small mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, dark sesame oil, sugar, vinegar, orange zest, one tablespoon of corn starch, and orange juice. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Set the mixture to the side until it is ready to use.

Next, get a dredging station together. To one bowl, mix the eggs, salt, and black pepper.  To another bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch.

To a frying pan, add the 2 cups of canola and bring it to a medium heat. Once your oil reaches 350 degrees, you are ready to fry the chicken. During this time, add the chicken pieces to the egg mixture, lift up and allow the egg mixture to drip off a bit, then add into the flour mixture, making sure you coat the chicken. Gently shake off any excess flour mixture, the place into the preheated frying pan.

Do this in batches. Cook for a few minutes, until nice and golden brown. Remove with your kitchen spider or slotted spoon, and place onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Chinese Orange Chicken Ingredients
Chinese Orange Chicken Ingredients

After all of the chicken is cooked, take another large skillet, and add the additional oil.

Heat to a medium heat, then toss in the ginger and garlic paste. Cook for about 30 seconds, then mix in the green onions and chili flakes. Add the Chinese rice wine, give a good stir, then add in the sauce mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken, and the sugar dissolve. Once you have accomplished that, add in the chicken pieces, give a good stir, and serve over jasmine rice.

Did this remind me of the Chinese orange chicken weeks ago? Yes. Was it better? Yes. Did it quiet my kitchen table from all of my hungry eaters? Yes.

If you are looking for a spectacular orange chicken recipe, and one that is super easy to make, give this one a try. It will satisfy your Chinese food cravings, plus it feeds a small army. Hope you enjoy!

Chinese Orange Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1½″ pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups of canola oil, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ½ cup corn starch, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
  • 3 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • ½ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Ingredients for the sauce:
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • zest of 2 oranges, juice of 1 orange
  • Cooked jasmine rice
Instructions
  1. Start by making the sauce. To a small mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, dark sesame oil, sugar, vinegar, orange zest, one tablespoon of corn starch, and orange juice. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Set the mixture to the side until it is ready to use.
  2. Next, get a dredging station together. To one bowl, mix the eggs, salt, and black pepper. To another bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch.
  3. To a frying pan, add the 2 cups of canola and bring it to a medium heat. Once your oil reaches 350 degrees, you are ready to fry the chicken. During this time, add the chicken pieces to the egg mixture, lift up and allow the egg mixture to drip off a bit, then add into the flour mixture, making sure you coat the chicken. Gently shake off any excess flour mixture, the place into the preheated frying pan.
  4. Do this in batches. Cook for a few minutes, until nice and golden brown. Remove with your kitchen spider or slotted spoon, and place onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  5. After all of the chicken is cooked, take another large skillet, and add the additional oil.
  6. Heat to a medium heat, then toss in the ginger and garlic paste. Cook for about 30 seconds, then mix in the green onions and chili flakes. Add the Chinese rice wine, give a good stir, then add in the sauce mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken, and the sugar dissolve. Once you have accomplished that, add in the chicken pieces, give a good stir, and serve over jasmine rice.

 

New Mexico Hatch Chile Pork

Recently our local grocery store began selling New Mexican Hatch chiles, something I have been wanting for many, many years. Granted I have made plenty of chili over the last ten years or so, but I have always been wanting the Hatch chili. To me, it is a bit like any other. I remember it clearly when we vacationed in New Mexico back in high school. The Hatch chili is crisp, spicy, and offers an awesome brightness. So when I found out the grocery store was finally selling these, I was bound and determined to make some real New Mexico style Hatch green chile with pork.

This chili is not only easy to make, yields a ton, and has plenty for leftovers, but it was one that had just that right amount of heat.

Hatch Chili Pork Recipe
Hatch Chili Pork Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb New Mexican Hatch Green Chiles, lightly oiled
  • Charcoal fire or broiler
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt, more to taste
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 6 large tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed

That’s it. Simple ingredients.

Start by charring your Hatch chilies. I do this on my grill, flipping when the chilies get nice and charred, and softened. Once softened and charred, remove the chilies and place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or plastic zip lock bag, allowing them to steam, and ensuring that the exterior skin is easily removed.

After about 10 minutes, remove the chilies, and peel away the exterior charred skin. Cut off the top stem, and remove the seeds from the inside of the chilies. Discard the seeds, then roughly chop the Hatch chilies. Set them to the side.

Hatch Green Chili Pork Ingredients
Hatch Green Chili Pork Ingredients

Next, take your onion, cilantro, tomatillos, Hatch chilies and garlic and add them to a food processor. Pulse down until you have a smooth sauce.

Season the cubed pork with salt and pepper, then heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the canola oil, then add the pork in batches. Your goal is to get a nice sear on the exterior of the cubed pork shoulder. Turn the pork to get all sides nice and seared. Once seared, remove to a bowl, and repeat with the remaining pork.

To a slow cooker (please feel free) or large pot, add the pork, as well as the onion mixture. Cook low and slow until the pork is super tender. I did mine in a slow cooker for 8 hours (a perfect thing to do when you head to work).

When you are ready to serve, ladle the Hatch green chili pork into a serving bowl, get some warm tortillas or ladle over an easy cooked egg, and you are ready for a game changer. I added some cannellini beans towards the end of my cook process, but that is only optional.

I was blown away. Seriously. This chili was perfect. It had great heat, great citrus flavor, and screamed comfort all around. If you have access to Hatch chilies, try them. Now I am heading back to buy some more before they are all gone. Hope you enjoy!