This is another holiday dish that I will definitely be putting into the year-round rotation.
I first had this dip at a Christmas party 8 years ago, and I searched for the recipe for 5 years before someone pointed out to me that it had been right under my nose – namely in Heart & Soul – the whole time.
While this does take a little while to prep and cook, it is totally worth your time. And not just because it is delicious, but also because each step of the cooking process leaves the house smelling better than the last. Butter, creole seasoning, fresh herbs and seafood? I’m on board.
Two words of caution: Make sure to thaw and rinse your seafood well to get rid of any unnecessary fishiness, and make sure you use 2 teaspoons of creole seasoning and not 2 tablespoons at each of the saute steps. Not that anyone has ever ruined 2 pounds of perfectly good seafood by doing that, but I’d like to prevent it if at all possible…
1 lb crawfish tails
1 lb shrimp, raw and roughly chopped
1.5 sticks of butter (.75 cups)
6 tsp creole seasoning
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tbsp fresh basil (3 dried)
3 tbsp fresh thyme (1.5 dried)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
- Melt half a stick of butter in a large skillet. Add 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add crawfish and saute for 5 minutes. Pour crawfish and butter into a bowl and set aside.
- Melt half a stick of butter in a the skillet, add 2 tsp creole seasoning, and saute shrimp in butter for 3 minutes. Add shrimp to bowl with crawfish.
- Melt the rest of the butter in the skillet with 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add onion, green and red peppers, celery, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
- Add fresh herbs, tomato paste and flour to veggie mixture in the skillet and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
- Process half of crawfish/shrimp mixture in blender (do not puree).
- Add crawfish/shrimp mixture (both processed and not-processed halves) to skillet and mix thoroughly.
- Stir in green onions and add hot sauce to taste.
- Serve with Thin Garlic Crostinis and get out of the way.
So I probably should have posted these recipes last week before Thanksgiving, but I forgot and I wanted to test them out twice to get all kinks out of the way. I was lucky to have two Thanksgivings this year, a “friendsgiving” down in NOLA (which was way better then my family Thanksgiving) and family Thanksgiving. I still never want to eat again. Below is an amazing crawfish stuffing that Chef John’s family has requested a double batch of for next year. Perhaps you can save in your Thanksgiving recipe file for next year or break it out for the December holidays! Chef’s note: make sure to use dry corn bread so it soaks up all the sauce. – ts
Chef John Says: Everyone knows that the best part of Thanksgiving is the stuffing. I usually dedicate about 3/4 of my plate to it. My family always has a traditional stuffing/dressing but this past Sunday we had a pre-Thanksgiving feast at our friend’s house in New Orleans and it was decided that we should make a more NOLA-style dressing. Tanya came across this beauty: Besh’s Crawfish Corn Bread Dressing. Like ALL of Besh’s recipes, this is very easy and delicious.
You can make the corn bread ahead or use leftover corn bread. In fact, the dressing may be prepared a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator until an hour before serving. I used more andouille, hot sausage, and garlic than it calls for… obviously. This recipe makes 8–10 cups, more than enough to stuff a turkey, but at our Thanksgiving we stuff our bird separately and serve dressings like this alongside. Serves 10
4 tablespoons rendered bacon fat (I used a couple tablespoons of butter instead)
¼ pound andouille sausage, diced
¼ pound hot pork sausage meat, removed from casing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups peeled crawfish tails, chopped (you can usually find a package of frozen tails)
2 green onions, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Basic Creole Spices
6 cups crumbled Basic Corn Bread
2 cups Basic Chicken Stock
½ cup heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
- Put the bacon fat, andouille, and pork sausage into a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the pork with the back of a wooden spoon.
- When the pork sausage meat has browned, add the onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the crawfish and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the sausage and crawfish and stir together until well combined. Spoon the dressing into a large heatproof dish.
- At this point, the dressing may be covered and refrigerated (for up to 1 day) until you are ready to bake it. Bake the dressing in a preheated 350° oven until it is piping hot and golden brown, 15–30 minutes.
This recipe comes from JR’s friend Sewell, a good ‘ole Georgia boy who knows the importance of Cajun seasoning in anything that bears the “Creole” name. I normally wouldn’t post something from a Georgia fan two days before their (likely not epic but here’s-to-hoping good) battle with the Vols, but this looks too darn good to ignore.
The main thing to remember with this recipe is that juice is your friend. Don’t drain anything here. All of that sauce the ‘maters are packed in provides flavor and richness, so feel free to add more as you go if your Creole looks a little thirsty.
2-3 links andouille sausage, sliced
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small sweet onion, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob (or 1/2 cup frozen)
4-8 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 large cans diced tomatoes (Italian) + juice
1-2 cans of rotel + juice
1 cup rice, cooked according to package directions
olive oil or butter
- Brown sausage in large dutch oven with olive oil. Remove and reserve.
- Saute bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic in same pan until soft (about 5-10 minutes) with the Cajun seasoning.
- Add sausage, corn, tomatoes, and rotel.
- Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add shrimp and cook for three minutes.
- Serve over rice with hot sauce.
We cooked this on one of our last dinner parties at our apartment in NYC. It was amazing. We made a huge pot of it, and I am pretty sure there were no leftovers. People were stuffing their face and going for third helpings. Chef John and I love “My New Orleans” cookbook. Other then the obvious fact that his recipe’s are amazing, I also love this cookbook because John Besh describes the cooking process and why it is important to do certain things while you are cooking. -ts
Chef John says: If you don’t have John Besh’s book, “My New Orleans,” than you need to have your head examined, go buy it. In my opinion, he’s easily one of the most talented and innovative chefs out there and best of all he likes to use pork… a lot. I’m trying to eat my way through his book at the moment but wanted to share with you his Jambalaya recipe. Prior to this, I’ve never tried to make it on my own and I was really surprised by how easy it was. This is one of my favorite comfort foods and provides a great base for a long night out.
2 pounds bacon, diced
3 pounds andouille sausage, diced
1/2 cup lard (OPTIONAL- we did not use bc there is enough pork fat)
2 pounds fresh pork sausage, removed from casings
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, roughly cut into 1-inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
6 large onions, diced
4 bell peppers, seeded and diced
10 stalks celery, diced
12 cloves garlic, minced
9 cups converted Louisiana white rice
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
3 tablespoons pimention de la Vera or smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon celery salt
6 cups canned crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
5 pounds Louisiana white shrimp or other wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 bunches green onions, chopped
- First, you’ll need to heat a very large pot 3-5 gallons) over high heat until it is hot, then reduce the heat to moderate. This will allow the heat to be uniform all over, preventing those little hot spots that are likely to burn.
- Render the bacon with the sausages and the lard in the hot pot, stirring slowly with a long wooden spoon or a spade. While the pork is rendering, go ahead and season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pot, stirring, and cook until the chicken becomes golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- After the chicken as browned, add the onions to the pot and all them to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the bell peppers, celery, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Continue stirring from time to time so that everything in the pot cooks evenly.
- Next add the rice, thyme, bay leaves, pimention, cayenne, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoons black pepper, and the celery salt to the pot and cook, stirring often for 3 minutes.
- Increase the heat to high and add the tomatoes and chicken stock to the pot, Bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat do medium low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking in the covered pot, season the shrimp with salt and pepper and save them, along with the green onions, to be added at the last minutes.
- After the rice as simmered for 15 minutes, go ahead and remove the lid from the pot and fold int he shrimp and green onions. Turn off the heat and let everything continue to to cook in the hot covered pot for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the jambalaya and serve.
We at Nummy are always up for a good rub. C’mon now people, get your mind out of the gutter. This is a family blog. Most of the time.
Anyway, nothing’s simpler than mixing and sprinkling, and this blackening rub will ensure that your meat gets the classic Cajun kick you’re looking for. Great on chicken, fish, shrimp, steak – you name it. If you can cook it, you can blacken it, so go forth and get dark and dirty.
6 tablespoons of paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Makes about one cup.