Crawfish Bisque Foamheart

Discussion in 'Non-fish Seafood' started by foamheart, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Crawfish. crayfish, crawdad, craydad, mudbud bug, etc etc etc.... You know that the person who first decided to eat one was hungry with loads of time on his hands. But doesn't matter what you call 'em, here in Louisiana we call 'em good! I could start a 'Forest Gump' continious chain of crawfish dishes but you realize we eat them. A lot! When ever possible.

    This is bisque, to many and myself included, consider this the crowning achievement of those swamp bugs raised to the top of the culinary pyamid. It probably takes more time to prepare than any other dish but possibly a terrine or an aspic.

    I am not doing the head stuffing today. Know you first must catch, boil and peel the crawfish. Or if they are the freezer, blanch, dehead, bag & tag. Then you have to pick out the largest and best head, debone them, remove the eyes, anntenna, and clean the shell. Then after a day in vinegar water, you make a stuffing, stuff the head, roll it in bread crumbs and fry or bake it. Then its in the freezer till you decide to make a bisque.

    Now that all being done.................

    Unlike my Mom and all the little old ladies I know, After peeling the crawfish tails, I make stock from the shells. It just adds extra flavor.

    And it yeilded

    I always start my rice first when cooking a rice dish, because? Because I am there and intent on the cook at the begining where I can get distracted with other 'projects' later on.

    My rice of choice, Long grain Mahatma for this dish.

    If we have crawfish shells, there must be crawfish somewhere. Also its in the original water because its where the fat is. Fat is important.

    OK, time to pull our spices, its a long list. Cayenne, tabasco, salt, and thyme. OK, Ok.... I was out of fresh thyme, ok?

    Next its my favorite part of cooking, slicing and dicing, and I guess some chopping too!

    Onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, parsley, and green onion. The green onion is really important because its added the last second of plating and has a great taste and beautiful crunchie bite!

    Now we have it all ready and assembled........ so whats first? Of course its the roux!

    This is a lightly different roux, its made with butter. In the begining it was one of the hardest rouxs to muster because that butter burns if you sneeze. The trick , and I'll share, is to use a small amount of peanut oil with the butter.

    We make a roux, add the onions when the desired color /taste is achieved to help cool it down and stop the cooking. Then the garlic, don't burn it. once the onions are tender and the garlic is all happy, add the celery, bell pepper, and parsley.

    Cook it down. That is the water from the crawfish with the fat/butter in it. I have the crawfish broth still reserved in case I need it, (I always do).

    These are the crawfish, the asked for a better more personal shot.

    Oh look the rice is done.

    Oh did I forget the stuffed heads?

    Seriously thats an all day job, seems to me there was something just less of 100 in the last batch. I love ya but you still only get 4 heads per bowl at my house. 

    So the crawfish are in the pot, I added some broth to thin it. BTW bisque is a really heavy thick dish. It would stand on top of the rice instead of surrounding it like soup. Its like a chowdar.

    So in the go!

    And it cooks alittle longer.

    Lookin Good! Did I not meantion I am on a cornbread kick? Gotta get that cornbread back to where it was last year. Besides I like cornbread. Today cornbread muffins.

    I am working on it OK, they are getting better, but that taste good.

    And then there was supper!

    Its like smoking, baking, wine making,  It takes awhile but well worth it if ya can find the mudbugs!

    One day to catch, one day to peel and put up, one day to make the stuffed heads, and a day to assemble.

    But its deffinately worth it.

    I hope you all get a chance someday to try it.
    waterinholebrew likes this.
  2. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very apetizing dish. Wouldn't mind a bowl.
  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well as I am a northerner, I have no idea what you just said. But it looks great. Nice winter time soup?
  4. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks awesome pass a bowl. Cornbread sounds great as well!
  5. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I love it on every level. 

    Funny last night while trying to sit out a  massive storm that  Andrew Zimmern guy was on TV showcasing Louisiana ,particularly a town called Saint Bernard. Seems there is a lot of people whose roots were the Canary Islands living there.

    They were eating crawfish amongst other things. It was a good cross section of the food I see you do,gumbo,boudin etc. But they had a bit more Latin leaning approach. Good cooking whatever name it goes by.
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes Please Kevin!!! The stuffed heads should be a post on their own! Please!!!!!

    We would like to adopt you as our official Southern food cook! You only have to travel here once a month and cook for one dinner!
  7. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Damn Foam ! :drool I just ate & now I see this.... Hungry again ! I REALLY enjoy your posts on these Cajun Dishes ! :77: Great thread ! Thumbs Up


  8. Damn, Mr. Heart,

    As a Louisiana native and one with some culinary training as well, my hat's off to you. Crawfish Bisque is indeed the holy grail of mud bug comfort food. Due to its labor intensive preparation few restaurants serve it and Louisianians usually only get it on special occasions for that same reason. I have had it served with the heads stuffed without the actual head. Just the stuffing as a ball. Takes some of the work out of it, but still cheating. I find its the heartiness of the roux that makes the dish. 

    Very, very nice. Thank you for showing the rest of the world one of Louisiana's culinary holy grails. 

    Care to share how you make your stuffing? 
  9. Ahhhh, St. Bernard Parish, referred to in the greater New Orleans area as "the Parish". Lots of latin settlers and some Filipino as well. Great food there. Hell, great food all over the great Bayou State. 
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That looks great. This is the first I have heard of Stuffed Heads...What is it? Is it just a bisque garnish or have other uses? I am interested in your recipe and take on the dish. Looks like you took the roux to the peanut butter stage. Should it be darker? Can you post the entire recipe? Thanks...JJ
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thank you.

    Its like Mac & Cheese, its something that you taste and just say ahhhhhhh.......... and the warmth just washes over you.
    You know how it is, down here if it ain't worms, the other fish bait we eat!
    Thank ye, Thank ye.

    I am working on it. its like brisket, its all good, but there is a best.
  12. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thank ya sir.

    Yabbies?  There is so many thinks to do with them. Crawfish boudin is one of my most favorites.
  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    LOL... I get laughed at already for bringing a camera into the kitchen. Now you want me to film others?  Next time we make haeds I'll see what I can do. Usually I make enough when making to last most a year. If you get invited to someones home for crawfish bisque, I always worry about single women poping up....LOL

    You really are lucky and/or favored if someone shares bisque with you.

    So I'll be up in a week or two to make ya some.
  14. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thank you sir. I'll be sending requests for help with my snack stix soon..... so you hire out your sous chefs?
  15. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thank you.

    Sure I'll post what I know below. I am not trained, I can only say what I use, I am sure you can figure out how much.
  16. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    LOL Chef...... do you know my lack of knowledge of typing is only exceeded my my inability to spell? LOL......

    Crawfish Bisque

    First, I am typing this for the first time ever, recipe? <Chuckles>

    The head……

    It’s just like a lobster. The meat is in the tail section which is removed from the body to get the meat out. The carapace (head) then holds the ‘butter’ or ‘fat’ which very important in crawfish cooked dishes. The legs and paws all come out together leaving a semi empty head shell. BUT we are not done yet, the eyes, antennae and the rostrum must be removed. The rostrum is what we refer to as the bone. Its nothing but a really hard serrated spear head on the point of the crawfish head. They hurt! It’s a serious thing to clean and debone the heads. Most folks use a old can opener to break that bone off all in one motion with the antennae and eyes. Either way you do it, you can’t clean heads two days in a row. Your thumb and fore finger just can’t take it even with the bottle opener. Then they must be washed clean. Then a little secret, put the shells in some vinegar. Like an egg shell it will slightly soften the shell and help to keep from cracking and breaking them when stuffing the next day.

    This is why the catching of the crawfish, the crawfish boil, the peeling, the head cleaning, and the stuffing are all communal. Remember how proud you were to move from the kids table to the family table? Well in Louisiana it’s the same, BUT it also means you have to feed yourself as well as at least one of the young kids who can’t feed themselves yet, crabs, crawfish, fish, etc. can be daunting for kids.  If its family, a neighborhood, a group, etc…. this is when all the mom’s and daughters do their thing, the daughters learn as the Mom’s socialize and teach. BTW my sister brought my niece to come help. LOL… My niece can call Pizza hut, that’s what she figures is a homemade meal. But she could sure peel those puppies! We cooked  I believe about 100 lbs. We cooked to eat, then I blanched to freeze

    The men catch the crawfish (it’s an all-day affair in the swamp with much hydration required), boil the crawfish (much hydration required again), peel the crawfish, then clean up. Believe me you don’t want the shells and ‘stuff’ sitting around. This stuff can and will removed paint from metal! We usually take care of the beer (because we are the hydration specialists), and if you are smart you make sure Mom has a cold one too (well she might break a sweat)!

    I keep talking of the fat, it’s a substance within the heads of the crawfish. You really don't want to know what it is , besides good. Its why everyone always thinks coonazz are sucking the heads, well we are but its some good juice in those heads......... In polite society I use my thumb nail to scrape the inside of the shell , the head, to get the fat. Some just tap the head down hard on the table to get it to fall out.

    Balls, now yes some folks now just ball it up, coat with crumbs and fry or bake. Just like Boudin Balls, Garfish balls, shrimp balls, etc. in the old days we called them boulette, but they were normally done with potatoes. This is a real stuffing.

    The roux is really an interpretation of who’s bisque you are making. My Mom’s roux because of all the fat we used to get were nearly black. The crawfish fat has a huge effect on color, thickness, and taste. The bisque, like smoking, is a personal prefrence, some bisques are thick, some are thin. Basically the only thing that is agreed upon is its made with crawfish and the stuffing is a bread type. Mine is normally eatten on a plate with veggie sides instead of a bowl like this one. But this is how Mom did it.

    You have seen the bisque above, as to the stuffing. Lets see…..

    The Trinity, with a 2 to 1 to 1 ratio of onions, bell peppers, and celery.

    Garlic, parsley, green onion tops, either chopped, pressed, chiffonade

    Crawfish tails /w fat, chopped

    Beaten egg

    Crawfish stock (best if crawfish have been boiled in Zatarain’s seafood boil, the stock and the meat taste like a Cajun boil)

    Dusting flour

    Melted butter

    French bread crumbs

    Salt & Cayenne to taste

    The easiest way to stuff the heads is a pastry bag, or a Ziploc with a corner cut off.

    Make a roux

    Wilt veggies

    Add chopped tails

    Add some stock

    Heck, add everything else. Then use the stock or crumbs to achieve the right consistency.

    Use the pastry tube to load the cleaned heads. Dust with flour and bake at probably 375 for 15 mins? Till its golden crusty. Then freeze. Some folks will deep fry instead of baking, I see no difference and when doing 100's baking I find much easier.

    Its not at all unusually to see these made 3 to 500 at a time. But 100 to 200 is the norm.

    I think I answered all the questions as best I could.

    BTW I did go back and look in my pictures, I sure thought I had some of the last making. But apparently it was the thought of a confused mind....LOL

    Now to soak my fingers in warm water the blood is dripping off them from all this typing. I had to cut cooling water into the keyboard to keep it from melting down from all the friction and speed of typing....... I also have some ocean front property in Az. I need to sell.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  17. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes Kevin Yabbies. Man that takes me back.Caught plenty back home on the Murrumbidgee River. We just boiled them.On the coast it's catching prawns in nets at night with head lamps.
    I like the natural fusion of different kitchens involved in your style of cooking. Obviously there is a French influence to start. Way down here I am drawn to Malaysian( Chinese,Indian,Malay) Mauritian( French,Indian,African) & other styles that have a touch of Portuguese ,Sri Lanka for instance.
  18. Thanks for posting the stuffing, Foamheart. 
  19. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks good! I do the shells trick with shrimp, too - I made a big batch when I visited my sister in Patterson, on Bayou Teche.

    And I make my cornbread as muffins, too.

    Edited to add, American crayfish are a major invasive pest in Scotland. They're wiping out the stoneflies that the trout depend on.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  20. Kevin, my favorite part of getting this dish at restaurants when I was still down there was the stuffed crawfish heads. They were always amazing. The only access I have to crawfish that's reasonably priced up here is in the freezer section at Walmart and I don't think I could bring myself to buy them. The meal and recipe look amazing, and thanks for posting it. You've given me an idea of a bisque I'd like to make with some of my Andouille. Cheers!

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