Classic Mardi Gras meal will leave plenty of time for parties and parades
Carnival season is my favorite time of year. From the glittering pageantry of the krewe parties, to the slice upon slice of delicious king cake, these days of revelry are remarkable.
Sadly, one cannot live on king cake alone. Before stepping out to attend the mad rush of Mardi Gras parades, parties and get-togethers, make this quick crawfish bisque. It comes together swiftly, leaving you plenty of time to don your mask and costume. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Quick Crawfish Bisque
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 10-ounce can of Rotel tomatoes with green chiles, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 32-ounce carton seafood stock
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 pound fresh or frozen peeled crawfish tails, if frozen thaw first
¼ cup dry sherry cooking wine
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot sauce, more to taste
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, optional garnish
Loaf of crusty French bread
In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until tender, stirring frequently. Add celery and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant. Remove mixture from the pan, set aside and wipe pan clean.
Add butter to pan and melt over medium heat. Whisk in flour until combined. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until roux turns pale brown, (the color of peanut butter). Add onion mixture, Rotel, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Whisk in stock, thyme and bay leaves, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove bay leaves. Transfer mixture to a blender, or use an immersion blender, and process until smooth. Return bisque to pan, and place over medium-low. Stir in cream, lemon juice, hot sauce, crawfish and ¼ cup cooking wine. Bring to a low simmer, and cook until heated, about 5 minutes. Spoon into 6 bowls, and top with additional thyme leaves. Serve with hot sauce and crusty French bread.
Alicia Cahill is the owner of The Kitchen Chick, 528 23rd St. in Galveston.