Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crawfish Bisque

Crawfish Bisque
1 stick of butter
2 1/2 cups flour
7 cloves of garlic
3 cans of chicken broth
1 quart of half and half
3 cubes of Knorr vegetable bouillon (you can use whatever kind you like. This is my favorite)
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
two bags of crawfish tail meat (found in the seafood freezer at Wal-Mart - at least around here!)
optional:  Tabasco sauce (I use 1 tablespoon)
                cooking sherry (I use 2 tablespoons)

"Craw-whaaa?" This is what I had said at a "souper bowl" party several years ago. I had finally found out what was in the yummy soup I had just sampled. I knew it was some type of seafood bisque - but crawfish? I had never had that in my life, and probably never would have if it hadn't been for that evening. A talented woman named Kris Presley had brought it for us to sample. It was barely down my throat when I cornered her and uh, lovingly DEMANDED the recipe. She graciously provided it and has given me permission to share it here.

Kris likes her bisque with A LOT of Tabasco, but for the protection of others, she keeps it minimal when serving it to guests. I enjoy the flavor of cooking sherry in a bisque (and also in split pea soup) so I have added it as another option. 

 Here is one of the packages of crawfish meat. The last time I made this bisque, it was about six dollars a package at Wal-Mart. This time it was eight dollars a package! Since you'll need two packages, make sure you know what you're getting into!

Don't be a-scared, it looks just like a little shrimp. If a crab and a shrimp had babies, they would look and taste like these little guys. I know, it's just the tail meat, but if you like crab and shrimp, you will probably really like the crawfish too!

      One package, ready to chop! Chop both packages and place into a bowl. Mince (finely chop) your seven large cloves of garlic and place that into a little bowl too. Gather the rest of your ingredients near your stove so you can move quickly. Open your three cans of chicken broth now so you won't be scrambling to do this and burn your flour!

Melt one stick of butter. (You may want to cut it into smaller pieces before melting)

Add chopped garlic to the melted butter.  It will smell WONDERFUL. Just let it sizzle a little bit. It's okay if it turns a little golden, but don't let it get dark or it will taste bitter.

The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of flour, and Kris had written in the recipe that you can add more flour later if needed.  Since I always seem to need it and it is easier to add it now than later, I go ahead and add the extra cup now. That makes for a total of two and a half cups of flour. It won't look wet and smooth when you whisk. It will be pretty dry and crumbly. Try to work the flour out of the edges of the pot.

Whisk in the cans of chicken broth one at a time and work out any lumps of flour as you go.

Once your bisque is smooth, pour in an entire quart of half and half and whisk.

Add a teaspoon or two of salt (you can always add more later) Remember, there is salt in the stock, bouillon, and probably even your butter. 

A couple teaspoons of pepper

2 bay leaves

Whisk in three Knorr Vegetable Bouillon cubes.

Heat and whisk until it thickens over med. to med. high heat. Make sure you scratch the bottom of the pot while you whisk so your bisque doesn't settle and scorch.  Once it starts bubbling, turn the heat to low. If you think it looks too thick, add a little more Half and Half or milk.

Stir in the crawfish.

If you taste it at this point, you'll probably think it needs a little something. If you don't like Tabasco, you may want to skip to the cooking sherry or just add more salt. If you plan on adding the Tabasco, hold off on more salt until you've added the hot sauce. Most folks like a little heat in this type of dish, so I poured in one Tablespoon of Tabasco sauce. This was enough heat for me!  Kris would put in three if her husband would let her! Wait a couple of minutes after each addition and taste again BEFORE you add more. I always have a bottle of Tabasco on the side for my friends and family who, like Kris, are heat monsters :)

I also add two Tablespoons of cooking sherry. I think it adds more depth and a more sophisticated flavor.You can leave this out if you don't like it (it is not in the original recipe), serve it on the side as an option for your guests, or add and sample until you like the flavor. If you don't know if you even like cooking sherry, a safe way to try it without contaminating your entire batch of soup is to ladle a little sample of the soup into a small bowl, add a little drop of sherry, and taste it separately. If you like it, then add to the entire batch. Sherry, like cooking extracts, has alcohol in it. When serving it to others, I add the sherry before thickening to burn out the alcohol. I poured the finished bisque into a crockpot to keep it warm for get togethers.  

I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself, but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  Yet if your brother is grieved by your food, you are no longer walking in love.  Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.  Romans 14:14-15

It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.  Do you have faith?  Have it to yourself before God.  Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.  But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.  Romans 14: 21-23


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