Growing up my father Lloyd T. Bourgeois made crawfish pies (tartlets) anytime we had friends and family over. They were "canapes" of sorts and beloved by all. Dad always made them in two inch diameter tartlet shells. In this video series I made crawfish hand pies. The crawfish filling can be made for tartlets, full size pies, or similar to the turnover seen in this video. You can also thin the filling out with stock and eat over rice like crawfish gravy or Étouffée. If you do not have crawfish tails then substitute 61-70 shrimp, pulled chicken or even vegetables like turnips, carrots and other offerings from the soil.
So lets get started! In the below videos you will see some of the vegetables and seasonings that I used for the recipe. The "trinity" mentioned in many Cajun recipes refers to onion, celery and bell peppers. Other ingredients would be garlic, stock (seafood, chicken or vegetable), hot sauce, bay leaf, thyme, tomato paste, butter and flour for roux, salt and pepper, and of course, crawfish tail meat
"First you make a roux", said almost every Cajun recipe in history. In its truest form, a roux is a mixture of fat and flour used for flavoring and thickening sauces. For this recipe, I used butter and flour. Different fats can be used such as vegetable oil, animal fats or bacon grease. I like butter for this recipe because it gives a luxuriousness to the sauce. This next video shows the various stages of the roux with the final stage being dark brown. This whole process takes about 20 minutes of real cooking time.
In goes the trinity and other seasoning. Take notice how I add onion first and allow it to cook for a few minutes. Garlic and chili is then added to "bloom". Peppers, celery and stock have also been added in stages. The point of this is to cook your vegetables in the roux in stages. This technique allows vegetables to cook and caramelize separately so they can develop flavor independently before the final cooking process. Chefs often refer to this technique as "layering flavors" Right before adding stock, add a little tomato paste and stir it into the roux.
Finally, after an hour of cooking I add my crawfish. At this stage you want to take the time to season your sauce with salt, pepper, hot sauce, and vinegar. This is the last time you will be able to season before you cool your sauce in preparation for making into tartlets or hand pies. Cook your crawfish in your seasoned sauce just until it comes back up to a simmer. Cool immediately and thoroughly thereafter.
The last video shows a fully cooled crawfish mixture and pie dough disk that has been cut 4 inches in diameter. The finished hand pies are brushed with egg wash and baked at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on if its larger traditional pies or slightly bigger hand pies.
Stay tuned for recipes added weekly.
Next time you are choosing on what to eat; remember ... "EAT LIKE A SOUTHERNER."
Thank you and Good Cookin'