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.
The Chef likes to experiment… wait, that sounds wrong. What I mean to say is that he doesn’t like to cook the same thing twice. Unfortunately he is SOL when it comes to these taters because they are the bomb. (I’m sorry. That term is stupid and incredibly 1998, but it felt right, so I went with it.)
As Alton Brown would say on the hilariously hosted Iron Chef America, “the chef is here to offer his most succulent variations,” and so it is with Nummy. Here The Chef provides both the basics and some extra jazz for when you’re feeling frisky. My personal favorite is the horseradish, but I can lick a bowl clean no matter what kind is on the menu.
Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
6 Idaho potatoes, peeled
2 cup of half and half
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of wasabi paste*
salt to taste
- Cut potatoes in half and place them in a pot of well-salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
- In a saucepan, heat butter, half and half, and salt until the butter melts. Pour over potatoes and mash together.
- Gently fold in the wasabi paste*. Season with salt.
*To make the other versions, simply substitute the items below for the wasabi. You’ll want to add them a little at a time until you’ve found the perfect amount for your taste. You can also use unpeeled red potatoes for these recipes for added texture and color.
Rosemary garlic mashed red potatoes
- Rosemary and garlic
- Lemon and thyme
- Goat cheese and chives
- Blue cheese
- Pesto (1 tablespoon)
- Dijon mustard
- Truffle oil
- Roasted garlic
- Horseradish and parmesan
- Cooked crawfish tails
- Fresh dill and sour cream
- Caramelized onions
- Green onions, parsley and capers
This sauce will make you want to tip up your bowl and suck it down. Go ahead. It’s ya birfday.
1 diced onion
celery (2 stalks), diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
Cajun seasoning to taste
1 package Andouille sausage, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup shrimp stock (or any seafood stock)
4 pounds mussels
1 package frozen crawfish, thawed and rinsed well
- Saute onions, celery, and green bell pepper. Cook slowly and add a good amount of Cajun seasoning.
- Add sausage. Cook through and add two cans of diced tomatoes.
- Add one beer and shrimp stock.
- Reduce by half and then add a little heavy cream. Add mussels.
- Cover and cook on medium high heat (about 5 minutes). Once the mussels are open pull them out of the liquid.
- Cook liquid down again by half and add crawfish. Warm through and serve with crusty French bread.