Crawfish Bisque

“During the 1970s, in the spring at the height of crawfish season, the Angelle family from Arnaudville, Louisiana, would invite me to help them make their annual batch of crawfish bisque. It was a long, but fulfilling day spent in their large kitchen. Though I was more than happy to join them in this time-consuming task, my reward was always two quarts of the bisque to take home and enjoy.

We gathered early in the morning to begin chopping mounds of onions, bell peppers, and celery, while we sipped cups of strong coffee and waited for one of the men to arrive with the just-caught sack of live crawfish. The freshwater crustaceans were scalded in a huge pot in the backyard and spread on a table to allow us to hand-select the larger ones, whose heads would be used for the stuffing. Then the heads and tails had to be perfectly cleaned and readied. We worked together, elbow-to-elbow, for the better part of the day, and by late in the afternoon, our work was complete. It was unanimously agreed that it was time well spent.” –Marcelle Bienvenu

Crawfish Bisque
Serves 6
Traditional Crawfish Bisque.
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  1. 1 cup vegetable oil, divided
  2. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 1/4 pounds crawfish tail meat
  4. 1 tablespoon salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  6. 1 tablespoon paprika
  7. 3/4 cup hot water
  8. 2 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
  9. 2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)
  10. 2 celery ribs, chopped (about 1 cup)
  11. 3 to 4 cups warm water, divided
  12. Stuffed Crawfish, recipe follows
  13. 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
  14. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  15. Hot cooked rice, for serving
  16. Garnish: chopped green onion
  1. In a large Dutch oven or cast-iron, heat 1/2 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add flour, and whisk vigorously until combined. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring often, until a dark brown roux forms, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add 1⁄4 cup oil. Add crawfish tails, salt, cayenne, and paprika, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. In a small pot over medium heat, combine 3⁄4 cup hot water and roux, and stir to blend. Add to crawfish mixture and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, add remaining 1⁄4 cup oil. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring, until soft and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add to crawfish mixture.
  4. Add 1 1⁄2 to 2 cups warm water, stirring to blend. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add remaining 2 cups warm water. Cook until bisque is slightly thick, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Add green onion, and parsley. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring gently. Serve over rice, with stuffed crawfish.
  6. Garnish with chopped green onion, if desired.
  1. After cooling, the bisque can be frozen in airtight containers.
Louisiana Cookin
Stuffed Crawfish
Serves 6
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  1. 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil or butter, divided
  2. 1 small onion, minced
  3. 1 celery rib, minced
  4. 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and minced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1/2 pound crawfish tail meat, divided
  7. 2 to 3 slices day-old bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  9. 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  11. 1⁄4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  12. 1⁄4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  13. 36 crawfish heads, cleaned
  1. In a large Dutch oven, add 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine 1⁄4 pound crawfish tails and bread, and pulse until ground.
  3. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add crawfish mixture, onion mixture, salt, peppers, and remaining 1⁄4 pound crawfish tails. Cook, stirring, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature, stirring several times as it cools.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, and set aside.
  5. Stuff each crawfish head with about 1 tablespoon crawfish mixture, and place on a large baking sheet. Cover stuffing in the crawfish heads generously with bread crumbs, patting them gently to adhere to the stuffing. Bake until bread crumbs are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Louisiana Cookin


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