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!

 

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Recently we went to our aunt’s annual pool party. It’s a blast as usual and our kids love spending all day in their pool, along with eating grilled burgers and hot dogs. Upon leaving their party, I was asked if I wanted a cabbage. I wasn’t about to turn it down, but in all honesty I had no clue what the heck I was going to do with it. So I thanked them for the cabbage, and then thought long and hard what the heck I was going to make with it. That’s when the light went off, and that’s when I decided to make stuffed cabbage rolls. When I mentioned that to my wife, I did not realize how excited one could get over the idea of stuffed cabbage rolls, but low and behold she did.

This was not only a great use of using up a lot of cabbage, but these things were delicious to boot.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

This recipe is way too easy to make, plus it is one that is totally hearty, great for a busy work week and one that I was able to use up another batch of my tomato sauce.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole head of green cabbage
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • additional salt for boiling cabbage

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Generously season with salt. Once boiling, carefully add in the whole head of cabbage, and cook for about 4 minutes. The goal here is to soften the leaves, leaving them tender for rolling.

Carefully remove the head of cabbage and remove 6 of the outer, larger leaves. Set aside, and then return the cabbage back to the salted boiling water, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove again, and set the cabbage aside.

Next, make your meat mixture. To a mixing bowl, add the ground chuck, salt, pepper, onions, garlic powder, egg, rice, and worchestershire sauce. Mix well.

Now it is time to roll the cabbage rolls. Take one of the reserved cabbage leaves and lay it on your work surface.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

 

Add about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture into the center of the cabbage leaf. Now it’s going to be like rolling a burrito or egg roll.

Fold over the meat mixture, fold in the sides, and continue to roll. Place seam side down onto a place. Repeat with remaining leaves and meat mixture.

Take the remaining cabbage leaves, about 10 or so, and place onto the bottom of your slow cooker. This helps to prevent the cabbage rolls from burning.

Arrange your cabbage rolls in the bottom of the slow cooker, pour over the tomato sauce, place the cover on, and cook for 6-7 hours. This is a perfect way to cook while you head to work.

Serve each cabbage roll on a plate and spoon over any additional tomato sauce.

These cabbage rolls rocked. Not only were they super tender on the inside, but the cabbage lent the perfect vehicle for stuffing. Was my wife still excited? You bet, and she even took one the next day for lunch, they were that good.

If you are looking for an easy meal, and have some cabbage laying around, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Smoked Ham

I’m probably getting excited, not only because it is Spring time, or at least getting close, but probably because Easter Sunday is near. Unfortunately this year much of the family will not be around and no one will be able to get together to enjoy an Easter Sunday feast, hence why I had glanced in my freezer only to find a small ham I had found on sale some time ago. I love ham, don’t you? It’s probably my son’s favorite, maybe both of my kids, and to me, there is nothing better than a ham that is plated on a table. The big question is, is why do we typically only make ham once or twice a year?

When I saw that ham, I knew I could go the standard route and bake it, but I wanted to do something different, plus I wanted to bust out the smoker, and hence why I now had that smoked ham.

Smoked Ham Recipe
Smoked Ham Recipe

This is so easy to make, and the smoke adds a great additional character to the ham. Did my family love it? Yes! We actually ended up eating it for three days straight.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ham (I use the butt end)
  • 1/2 cup of yellow mustard
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • cherry wood for the smoker
  • water pan for the smoker

Start by rubbing the ham with the mustard. The yellow mustard will act as the glue for the brown sugar.

Next, add the brown sugar, and massage it onto the ham. Let the mixture sit on your plate as you prepare your smoker.

When I smoke, I use charcoal as my ignition, and chunks of cherry wood as my smoking agent. I also have been using the Smokenator for well over a year now, and love it. But whatever smoker you use, have at it.

Smoked Ham Recipe
Smoked Ham Recipe

Once the charcoal is lit and nice and grey, add the wood chunks and water pan, and set your ham over the indirect heat on the grill. Cover, and cook for about three hours at 250 degrees.

After three hours, remove the ham from the smoker, wrap it in a couple of sheets of aluminum foil, and place into a 300 degree oven until the internal temperature of the ham is about 140 degrees. I do this in a two step process as to not only get the great smoke flavor from the grill, but to also have it finish and be nice in tender in the oven.

Once the temperature has reached 140 degrees, remove it from the oven, and using a sharp knife, cut it into thin slices, or your desired thickness.

Now you are ready to serve. The subtle smokiness of the cherry wood really had my kids, all of them, coming back for more. Again, we ate the ham for dinner three nights straight, and even my kids loved it so much they were making ham sandwiches for their lunches, plus I had plenty of leftover ham to freeze. I’m sure I’ll be serving it again during the Easter holiday.

If you are looking for a nice smoked ham, give this one a shot. That mustard and sugar combination, along with the cherry smoke, really made this smoked ham shine. Enjoy!

Creole Spice Blend

It’s that time of year again where I concoct a spice blend to give away as gift to my coworkers. As I put some thought into what type of blend I was going to make, I decided on making a Creole spice blend. I wanted something that could be diverse enough to add to most any grilled item, while at the same time provide a subtle kick. Now I know what you might be thinking, why not just user Emeril’s spice blend and be done with it, right? Well, no. I actually put time and effort into making these spice blends as I have done so probably for last six years or so, and I think that my coworker appreciate the handcrafted seasoning, plus I love making them!

I make a big batch of seasoning every year, so this probably made about 5 cups total.

Creole Spice Blend Recipe
Creole Spice Blend Recipe

Let’s get started, and if you have a spice shop nearby, source from them. The quality is so much better. These spices came from The Spice House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz mild paprika
  • 1 oz garlic powder
  • 1 oz salt
  • 1 oz onion powder
  • 1/2 oz dried oregano
  • 1/2 oz dried thyme
  • 1/2 oz cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 oz fine black pepper

I took the advice years ago from one of the employees of the Spice House when making any spice blend, and that is to mix, and mix until you think you can no longer mix. That’s where my KitchenAid mixer comes into play. If you do not have a mixer, then simply get a whisk out and whisk for about 5 minutes.

So the process is simple. Add everything to a mixing bowl, and mix for 5 minutes. Once done, pour into sealable bottles, and give away as gifts. Again, this roughly made about 5 cups, so I had some reserved for myself as well.

Creole Spice Blend Recipe
Creole Spice Blend Recipe

The result is pretty darn delicious. It was so addicting that I kept poking my finger in my personal batch and found myself going back to it. I’ve only used it on some eggs thus far, but I cannot wait to use it on things like shrimp and crayfish! Hope you enjoy.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Creole Spice Blend
Author: 
Recipe type: Spice
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 oz mild paprika
  • 1 oz garlic powder
  • 1 oz salt
  • 1 oz onion powder
  • 1 oz dried oregano
  • 1 oz dried thyme
  • 1 oz cayenne pepper
  • 1 oz fine black pepper
Instructions
  1. I took the advice years ago from one of the employees of the Spice House when making any spice blend, and that is to mix, and mix until you think you can no longer mix. That’s where my KitchenAid mixer comes into play. If you do not have a mixer, then simply get a whisk out and whisk for about 5 minutes.
  2. So the process is simple. Add everything to a mixing bowl, and mix for 5 minutes. Once done, pour into sealable bottles, and give away as gifts. Again, this roughly made about 5 cups, so I had some reserved for myself as well.