How to cook crawfish pie like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Patsy R. BrumfieldThe Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

CRAWFISH PIE

Everybody “down on the Bayou” sings about crawfish pie, but what does it really taste like? Here is a simple recipe, which is a hybrid from Emeril and John Besh.

I also think the pie crust should be pre-cooked slightly before this goes back into the oven.

New Orleans folks have easy access to fresh crawfish, but the rest of us must settled for the frozen variety. The latter is not as gorgeous as fresh, but it easy and accessible. ‘Nuff said.

Crawfish pie makes a great entree with salad or other less spicy side dishes like roasted veggies. I also think it can be converted into impressive appetizers by spraying your muffin tins, shaping pie crust into each and adding the pie filling then browning in the oven 30 minutes or so (the cooking time is less than the full pie, for obvious reasons.) I’d remove the muffin-pies as soon as you can handle them to prevent the crust from steaming and getting too soft.

If you want to make your own pie crust, go for it. I’m buying the dough or prepared pie shells at the grocery store.

EQUIPMENT

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

  • chopping board
  • chopping knife
  • small bowls for prepped veggies
  • large skillet
  • large bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • whisk
  • baking sheet

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound dried large lima or kidney beans (the beans don’t go in the pie but you need them for the crust – trust me on this one)
  • 1 stick butter

    how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

    how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 3/4 cup diced bell pepper (I like yellow to contrast all the red in this recipe)
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb. peeled crawfish tails (or one pkg frozen, thawed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (after using 1/4, I lean toward 1/8)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

LET’S GET STARTED

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When it’s hot, place pie pan with crust onto baking sheet, pour dried beans into the bottom of the crust and cook 10 minutes.

(Usually, when you are going to pre-cook pie crust, you will take a fork and poke lots of little holes into it so that steam can escape and not blow bubbles into your crust. The dried beans serve a similar purpose but prevent the little holes, through which this pie’s juices could leak.)

Remove the pre-cooked crust and set it aside. When it’s cooled off, pour dried beans into a bowl and allow to cool so you can store them for another pie pre-cook.

In the skillet, melt butter then add flour and whisk into a lightly browned roux. I found another recipe that calls for cornstarch to thicken this up at the end, but I don’t like the jelly-like texture. Roux is the way to go. This is the roux I made for crawfish etouffee. Shoot for this color:

how to make crawfish etouffee (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make crawfish etouffee (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

Add onions, bell pepper and celery. Cook, stirring, for another 6-8 minutes until vegetables are tender.

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

Add tomatoes, crawfish, green onions, parsley and seasonings.

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

Cook another 2-3 minutes until just heated through. Pour into large bowl and let cool about 10 minutes, then pour filling into pie shell.

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

Bake 40-45 minutes until crust is golden and filling is bubbling hot. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin' Cook)

how to make crawfish pie like a native (photo by Patsy R. Brumfield/Southfacin’ Cook)

Come back to NewinNOLA.com every week for “Southfacin’ Cook,” where Patsy explains the basics to Southern cooking and eating. Contact her with suggestions, questions or requests at patsy.brumfield@gmail.com.

Previous recipes from Patsy:

• Gumbo
• Quiche
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23 thoughts on “How to cook crawfish pie like a New Orleans native

  1. Patsy - Southfacin' Cook says:

    COOKING FRIENDS: I’ve had a couple of revelations about the filling in this recipe. One – spray muffin tins, arrange filo dough in them and spoon crawfish filling, then bake. Also, fill bell peppers to bake and also top baked potatoes. Wow, this is making me hungry! … patsy

  2. I’ve been looking for a crawfish pie recipe – I think yours looks amazing! I make a tasty crawfish quiche, but I want to branch out to crawfish pie. Excited to use my tasty LA crawfish tails for this! :)

    • Patsy says:

      Karen, thanks for looking us up! I’ve got lots of other really good, easy recipes on this blog. Highly recommend the Red Beans & Rice and the Creole Bread Pudding. Next week, Shrimp & Grits.

  3. Kristi says:

    Thanks for posting your recipe…your instructions are a bit misleading as it looks like you don’t actually cook the veggies in the roux, but in a separate pan with more butter. I made it as instructed (cooked the veggies in the roux) and it came out real dry – almost like stuffing – before making it into the crust. I think it definitely needs more liquid in there somewhere. Just a tip for anyone else who might try this recipe.

    • Sadly, it was the only crawfish available at Patsy’s grocery store in north Mississippi when she was doing the recipe. Locally, we have plenty of Louisiana options that are far better. When Patsy is in town, she cooks with local seafood. We’ll reshoot the photos with local crawfish the next time she makes crawfish pie.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. Gina says:

    Extremely disappointed to see imported crawfish (Bernard’s) in your picture, when certified Cajun products of Louisiana are readily available. Shame on you. However, the recipe looks wonderful, but I’ll be making mine with Louisiana products.

    • Gina – it was the only crawfish available at Patsy’s grocery store in north Mississippi when she was doing the recipe. You are correct about local seafood – we have plenty of Louisiana options that are far better. When Patsy is in town or Gulf seafood is available at her grocery store, she cooks with local seafood. We’ll reshoot the photos with local crawfish the next time she makes crawfish pie.

      Thanks for reading.

  5. I’d have to agree with Kristi. I made this recipe last night as instructed and once I added the vegetables to the roux it came out extremely thick and pasty. I had to add milk to thin it out enough to cook the vegetables. When looking back at your photos it looks like you didn’t cook the vegetables in the same pot as the roux. When did you add the roux to your crawfish and veggie mix?

    • @Static and @Kristi – I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t come out for y’all. Patsy is our resident Southern cooking expert so I’ll defer to her on this one. I’ll bug her as soon as she finishes her Thanksgiving cooking. Sadly, I’m allergic to bell peppers so I can’t test this out :-(

      Here’s another version of a crawfish pie:

      http://www.nola.com/food/index.ssf/2013/09/in_judys_kitchen_crawfish_pie.html

      My friends served it at a dinner party and it disappeared. It also includes video instructions.

      Best of luck! Please let me know if y’all figure out a way to improve the recipe and I’ll get it updated.

  6. Brandalynn says:

    I too think something is missing from the recipe. Mine is dry, like stuffing. I wish I would have read the comments before making it this evening. Oh well. At least it’s got good flavor.

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  12. Destinique says:

    I live in Louisiana and everyone that I know that uses the frozen crawfish, after they thaw you place them in a strainer and wash them first and the water runs clear, and afterwards you season them with creole seasoning. That’s just a tip, it will taste better.

    • Destinique says:

      I live in Louisiana and everyone that I know that uses the frozen crawfish, after they thaw you place them in a strainer and wash them first until the water runs clear, and afterwards you season them with creole seasoning. That’s just a tip, it will taste better.
      (correction)

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