Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas crawfish pie

This was my contribution to our Christmas lunch at Rex's house. I only remembered to take a picture of the cooked pie after most of it had been devoured.I doctored a simple recipe from Emeril Lagasse that I found here. I started by sautéing chopped onions, celery and bell peppers (one cup of each) in half a stick of melted butter.Once the veggies were soft and the onions were golden, I added a drained can of chopped tomatoes and cooked everything over medium high heat for about six minutes. I seasoned the mixture with cayenne pepper and salt. Then I added half a cup of chopped parsley and 1 1/2 pounds of cooked crawfish tails with fat, and I let the mixture cook uncovered for another six minutes until the liquid reduced and began to thicken.

Then it was time to add a thickening agent.

A lot of crawfish pie recipes use flour or starch. Another choice, favored by both of my sisters, is to add a can of creamed soup (mushroom or celery).

I opted, instead, for four tablespoons of dry roux. I picked up a few bottles of the Kary's brand when I was last in Louisiana. I've since used the roux in several dishes, including gumbo and smothered okra, and I've been very happy with the results.

If buying dry roux at the grocery isn't an option, then you can make your own by following these directions.

Back to the pie. I moved the crawfish and vegetable mixture to the sides of the pot and used a whisk to mix the four tablespoons of dry roux with the gravy in the center. Once the powder was fully incorporated, I stirred the entire mixture together and let it cook for another six minutes.
After taking the filling off the burner and letting it cool for about 30 minutes, I spooned it into a 9-inch pie pan that was lined with an uncooked pie crust. I topped the pie with another crust, pinched the edges to seal it and cut several slits in the top to allow venting in the oven.

I baked the pie at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes until the top crust was golden brown.

The final result was fantastic. The dry roux was a perfect thickening agent, and it deepened the flavor of the filling without overpowering the flavor of the other ingredients.

My previous attempts at crawfish pie had always resulted in a runny filling that leaked everywhere once a slice was cut. But that wasn't the case with this version. The pieces were easy to slice, and the filling held together well after they were served.
Rex, Fentress, Steffen and Benji enjoyed the warm temperatures and clear skies here in San Diego before moving inside for the traditional Xmas food orgy prepared by Jesse's loving hands.


Anonymous said...

Suggestion: I noticed the edge of your pie crust appeared slightly burnt. I would suggest you take thin strips of foil and fit the around the edge of the crust once the crust is golden-brown. That will allow the rest of the pie to bake and brown, without over-baking the edge.

Keith said...

Hmmmmmm, "Anonymous," this sounds just like the kind of advice that Jesse would give me. Isn't that funny? :)