Have leftover crawfish from a boil? Try this easy recipe for crawfish chowder. We Southerners smugly think “chowder” (or “chow-dah”) is something Yankees invented and shouldn’t be trotted out in kitchens south of the Mason-Dixon line. Fear not, intrepid cooks. Chowder is just a milky stew of goodness, no matter where it comes from.
This recipe comes to me from a colleague when I worked at my alma mater, the University of Mississippi. I gotta tell you, it’s so good that you’d serve it to Prince Charles and Prince Harry, if they were lucky enough to be in your dining room.
Add a crusty loaf of French bread or steamy cornbread and butter for soaking up the juice, and you’ll be dancing! I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten from this recipe, which has become a favorite with my friends. Now, it’s yours!
- large stew pot
- wire whisk
- sifter or fine-wire colander
- measuring equipment
- flat-edged wooden spatula
- cutting board
- chef’s knife
- cereal bowl
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup flour (sifted)
- 1/2 gallon milk (8 cups – start with 2% and go higher if you’re skinny)
- 1 cup Half & Half
- 1 3/4 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon chives or 3 finely chopped green onions
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid crab boil
- 2 cans shoepeg corn (otherwise called white corn)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (for garnish)
- 2 pounds cooked crawfish (Fresh is preferred, but frozen works fine. If using frozen, thaw 2 12-ounce packages.)
LET’S GET STARTED
IMPORTANT – Never let any stage of this recipe boil!!
Melt butter in a warm stew pot (level 2 on a gas stove). Gradually add flour and sauté with whisk until thickened. Let this cook slowly at least 5 minutes, whisking often. Congrats! You are making a roux.
Meanwhile, start warming milk (2 cups at a time) in your microwave.
When your roux has reached a light caramel color, slowly whisk the first 2 cups of milk into the flour. Whisk constantly through the first 2 additions (4 cups) of milk to make sure the roux doesn’t lump. Add the remaining warmed milk (8 cups total).
Then warm the Half & Half and add it to the pot. Stir your pot until everything is smooth. Use your flat-edged wooden spatula to scour the pot bottom often to ensure that the roux doesn’t stick.
Add Creole seasoning, crab boil and sugar.
Stir well, turn up the heat a notch and, stirring frequently, cook just under boiling. (This likely will take at least 15 minutes, until you see the steam rising off the mixture. You’ll also see the mixture start to develop tiny bubbles nearest the pot’s edge.) Add softened cream cheese. Beat with whisk until smooth. Reduce heat a half notch (no bubbles near the pot’s edge).
Drain corn in the colander and add to the stew pot.
Dump crawfish into the colander, lightly rinse, then add to the mixture.
Still stirring the pot frequently, cook the chowder until its heated through (about 15 minutes). Check for seasoning and add more if you like it spicier.
Lightly sprinkled with parsley garnish, it serves at least 6-8, with cornbread or French bread to sop up the liquid.
NOTE: This doesn’t freeze well, but it keeps in the fridge for a couple of days.
Come back to NewinNOLA.com for “Southfacin’ Cook,” where Patsy explains the basics to Southern cooking and eating. Contact her with suggestions, questions or requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This work by Patsy R. Brumfield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.