So Mardi Gras is next week, which means that for the next few days, at least in Mardi Gras-celebrating locales it’s kind of a gastronomical free-for-all where things like Jambalaya and Gumbo and King Cake and Dirty Rice and Shrimp & Grits and Meat Pies and Beignets and Red Beans & Rice and Pralines are acceptable wherever, whenever, and you’re not allowed to feel guilty about eating them in unlimited quantities.
Even though seafood is kind of at the heart of Louisiana deliciousness, we only have one other Louisiana seafood recipe. Part of it is because if it came from the water, my family won’t eat it. Secondly, the seafood that’s readily available here isn’t always easy to find everywhere else, so I’m hesitant, lest you find yourself unable to locate crawfish and hate me. Forever. Finally, I have a hard time cooking seafood. It creeps me out. The smell lodges itself in my brain and my family thinks I’m crazy when I’m convinced I can smell fish 3 days later. In case you hadn’t noticed, if you love to eat seafood more than any other thing in the universe, Our Best Bites might be failing you a little.
My friend Jeni, who I’ve mentioned before because she keeps me supplied with gossip and delicious recipes, got this recipe when she lived in New Orleans. Now…Jeni has lived here most of her life and has lived in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, so lest anyone tell me that I suck and should go away and never post Louisiana food again, this recipe comes from a Louisiana girl.
The first time I ever had seafood bisque was in New Orleans a few years ago (with Jeni, incidentally). Now…I had just developed an abscessed tooth and was on a fairly hefty dose of Lortab, but it was both the most delicious (and the most hilarious) meal I’d ever eaten. When I got the chance, I started looking for a seafood bisque recipe, and they were all ridiculous complicated (Emeril’s involved shelling shrimp and then making a stock with their shells and heads. Um…it’s just not gonna happen. People always ask why we don’t ever want to do a show like Chopped and that is exactly why. We’d somehow get suckered into making a dessert with shrimp shells, mint leaves, and Twinkies.)
This is not that recipe. In fact, it may involve more canned ingredients than anything else we’ve ever posted on the blog. I AGONIZED about whether or not to post it because we tend to eschew the canned soup experience. But seriously…it’s so delicious and so easy and if canned cream of potato soup gives you the heebie jeebies, you can always make a homemade version–just omit the poultry seasoning and simmer it with 1/2 pound of chopped red potatoes until they’re tender.
For the fresh ingredients, you’ll need a stick of salted butter, a green bell pepper, a medium onion, and 1 1/2-2 pounds of crawfish tails (you can find them in the frozen seafood section; if you can’t find them, you could use lobster or crab, but those could be prohibitively expensive. Shrimp is also a possibility).
Add the minced pepper and onion and sauté until tender and fragrant. While the onions and peppers are cooking, chop the crawfish meat into bite-sized pieces.
Add the crawfish tails, a tablespoon of Cajun or Creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s) and stir to combine.
Now. Warm up your can-opening hand. Check this out.
That’s 2 cans of creamed corn, 4 cans of cream of potato soup, and 3 cans of evaporated milk. Bust out your can opener and add all the ingredients to the pot and bring to a simmer (don’t boil–bad things will happen). Season to taste with additional Tony’s and Tabasco sauce and serve. Makes about 12-14 servings.
Quick & Easy Crawfish & Corn Bisque
Recipe from Jeni Mangum
1 stick salted butter
1 green bell pepper, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 1/2-2 pounds crawfish tails (available in the frozen seafood section), rinsed, drained, and chopped
4 cans cream of potato soup*
1 tablespoon+ Cajun seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s)
3 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
2 14.75-ounce cans creamed corn, undrained
Salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce to taste
1/2-1 cup water
*If you’d like, make a double recipe of this homemade cream of chicken soup; omit the poultry seasoning and simmer it with 1/2 pound of diced red potatoes until the potatoes are tender.
In a large soup pot, melt the butter. Add the minced pepper and onion and sauté until tender and fragrant. Add the crawfish tails and stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer (don’t boil–bad things will happen). Season to taste and serve. Makes about 12-14 servings.