Texans have developed a love for mudbugs—a favorite nickname for crawfish. Many rice farmers in the eastern coastal regions of Texas flood their fields after harvest and turn the land into crawfish ponds as an adjunct income. This easy recipe features the humble crawfish as the flavor base for a delicious dish with multidimensional flavors. Enhanced by the crawfish “fat,” mushrooms, thyme and rich sauce, it’s the spiciest in our feast, and frankly, this piquant sauce needs a quencher for a perfect match in the form of Messina Hof Winery Riesling (Father and Son Cuvee) with its wondrous residual sugar, crisp acidity and low alcohol. Honeyed lemony floral notes match the flavor intensity and body of the sauce while still allowing the delicate crawfish flavors to emerge.
For 6 people ()
- 1/2 cup(s) butter
- 2 tablespoon(s) canola oil
- 1 pound(s) tiny button mushrooms, whole, or regular mushrooms cut into quarters
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 roasted, peeled and seeded red bell peppers, cut into ½-in. dice
- 1 large celery stalk, cut into ½-in. dice
- 2 tablespoon(s) minced flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon(s) minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon(s) cayenne, or to taste
- 3 cup(s) seafood stock, or stock made from shrimp bouillon cubes
- 4 cup(s) whipping cream
- 2 pound(s) cooked and peeled crawfish tails with fat
- 2 tablespoon(s) Pernod, or another anise-based liqueur
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup(s) softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 pound(s) penne rigate pasta, cooked al dente and drained
Crawfish Dauphine Directions
- To make the buerre manié, combine the softened unsalted butter with the all-purpose flour and blend well in a food processor. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed, deep-sided 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the canola oil and heat. When the oil mixture is hot, add the mushrooms and shallots. Cook until the mushroom liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are lightly browned—about 10 minutes.
- Add the red bell peppers, celery, parsley, thyme and cayenne and stir well to blend. Cook, stirring often, until the celery is wilted—about 5 minutes.
- Add the stock and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook to reduce the liquid by half.
- Stir in the whipping cream, crawfish tails and Pernod, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then bring to a boil.
- Slowly stir in small bits of the beurre manié—whisking until each addition is totally incorporated before adding more—until desired thickness is attained. The sauce should be slightly thickened but still pourable—like a cream soup.
- To serve, place the pasta in a large bowl and ladle the crawfish mixture over the top. Garnish with a scattering of minced parsley and serve hot.