Friday, March 3, 2017

Crawfish Étouffée

A couple days ago, I shared the recipe for the King Cake we made for Mardi Gras.  But we had some tasty Cajun food before we had the King Cake - we made crawfish étouffée.  We used the recipe from Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen.

  • Seasoning Mix
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. dried sweet basil leaves
    • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/8 cup chopped onions
  • 1/8 cup chopped celery
  • 1/8 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 3/8 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups seafood stock
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails (get Louisiana crawfish if you can - they are much better than the Chinese ones!)
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped green onions
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice
Yield: 4 servings

Thoroughly combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the onions, celery, and bell peppers.

In a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the oil over high heat until it begins to smoke (about 4 minutes).  With a long handled metal whisk, gradually mix in the flour, stirring until smooth.  Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the roux is a dark red-brown (about 3-5 minutes).  Be careful not to let it scorch in the pan or splash on your skin.

Remove from heat, and immediately stir in the vegetable mix and 1/2 tbsp. of the seasoning mix.  Continue stirring until cooled (about 5 minutes).

In a 2 quart saucepan, bring 1 cup of the stock to a boil over high heat.  Gradually add the roux and whisk until thoroughly dissolved.  Reduce heat to low and cook until the flour taste is gone (about 2 minutes), whisking constantly.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a 4 quart saucepan, melt 1/2 stick of the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the crawfish and green onions, sauté about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add the remaining 1/2 stick of butter, the stock mixture, and the remaining 1/2 cup of stock.  Cook until the butter melts and is mixed into the sauce (about 4 to 6 minutes), stirring constantly.

Add the remaining seasoning mix, stir well and remove from heat.  Serve immediately by mounding 1/2 cup of rice on each serving plate, topped wth 3/4 cup of the étouffée.

This was really yummy, if you like Cajun food, I definitely recommend it!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cream Cheese King Cake

Did you have good Mardi Gras?  We did!  We celebrated with crawfish étouffée, King Cake, and Hurricanes!  Today I'm going to share the recipe we used to make the King Cake - I'll be putting up the étouffée and Hurricane recipes later this week.

To make the King Cake, we used the Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake recipe from Southern Living with a few changes.

  • Dough
    • 8 oz sour cream
    • 8 tsp. sugar
    • 2 tbsp. butter
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 (1/4 oz) envelope active dry yeast
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1/2 tbsp. sugar
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 3 to 3 1/4 cup flour
  • Filling
    • 3/8 cup sugar
    • 1 8-oz package cream cheese
    • 1/2 egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • Creamy Glaze
    • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. melted butter
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp. lemon zest
    • 1 tbsp. milk
  • Purple, green, and gold sparkling sugar sprinkles

Makes 1 King Cake (approximately 8 servings).

Cook the sour cream, 8 tsp. sugar, 2 tbsp. butter, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often until the butter melts. 

Set aside and cool the mixture to 100ºF.

Stir together the yeast, 1/4 cup warm water and 1/2 tbsp. sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  The mixture should bubble like in the picture above.

Beat the sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, egg, and 1 cup flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixture until smooth.  Reduce the speed to low and gradually add enough remaining flour (about 2 cups) until a soft dough forms.

Place the dough in a well-buttered bowl, turning to grease the top.  

Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough in doubled in bulk.

To make the cream cheese filling, beat 3/8 cup sugar, cream cheese, 1/2 egg, vanilla, and 1 tbsp. lemon zest at medium speed with an electric mixture until smooth.

Punch down the dough and roll it into a 22 by 12 inch rectangle.  Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly on the dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders.  Instead of putting a plastic baby in the cake, we like to put a pecan in the filling - it definitely tastes better!

Roll up the dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion.  Place the dough roll, seam-side down, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bring the ends of the roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching the edges together to seal.

Cover and let rise in a warm place about 20-30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.   Then bake at 375º for 15 minutes or until golden.  Cool the cake on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

To make the creamy glaze, stir together 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp. melted butter, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1 tsp. lemon zest.  Gradually stir in the 1 tbsp. milk until you reach a spreading consistency.  The glaze should be fairly thick.  Drizzle the creamy glaze over the warm cake.

Sprinkle with the colored sugars, creating bands of purple, green, and gold.


Did you make anything special for Mardi Gras?  Are you giving anything up for Lent?  Let me know!