When Bob Iacovone was named a Chef to Watch in 2005, he was running the kitchen at one of the hottest restaurants in New Orleans, Cuvée (which has since closed). Since then, his priorities have changed a bit. Bob left Cuvée to be a stay-at-home dad, but the itch to get back in the kitchen was always there. He knew that when he got back into the game, he wanted it to fit into his new lifestyle.
Now at Iacovone Kitchen, the grab-and-go business he and his wife, Joanna, recently opened on Freret Street in New Orleans, the focus is providing busy families with quick, satisfying meals that don’t break the bank. Each day, Bob offers different meat, seafood, and vegetarian entrées with sides. The business is still evolving, and he recently added a menu of hot pressed po’ boys and grain bowls to feed students from nearby universities.
One item Bob features often on his grab-and-go menu is potpie. For something different to do with leftover crawfish tails and fixings from a boil, these Crawfish Boil Potpies feature all the spicy flavors we love in a comforting one-pot dish. Instead of presenting it like a traditional potpie with a top crust, Bob opted to go with a deconstructed version that showcases all of the elements of the dish. We recently sat down with Bob to catch up on Iacovone Kitchen and get the lowdown on this showstopping potpie.
Q Let’s change gears and talk about the dish: your Crawfish Boil Potpies.
It’s a comfort food, and when I’m sitting down to a fast meal, it’s a one-pot dish, so I wanted to bring all the flavors of a Louisiana boil to a simple dish.
Q What sort of techniques are you using in this dish?
Basically what you’re doing is saving tails after a crawfish boil and making a stock with crawfish shells. You’re making a stock with that and thickening it with a dark roux, cooking it down, adding a little of this and that, recooking, and poaching everything.
Q When you’re making your stock, is there anything special you do with it?
I just put a lot of love and time into it, really.
Q The potpie you prepared for us today is topped with chicken skin cracklin’s. How would you describe chicken skin cracklin’s? How would you recommend making them at home?
We roast a lot of chickens here to make our chicken salad, and I save all the skins. Basically, you can deep-fry them or you can shallow-fry them until they’re crispy, take them out, and put a little bit of Creole spice on top.
Q With the creamy sauce and crispy chicken, you’ve got a lot of different flavors and textures in this potpie.
I think that’s so important to have sweet with salty or spicy with sweet, and then with the texture—crispy, creamy, that kind of thing. I think more textures and more flavors add so much to any dish.
Q When a home cook is making this, what sort of tips would you give them to make it a little bit easier?
Have roux on hand at all times. I usually have three different rouxs on hand at all times. Whenever I’m making roux, I’m making a big batch so that it’ll last. It’ll be around long after I’m gone. You can leave it out at room temperature. As long the oil’s covering the flour, you’re OK.
- ¼ cup oil
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Crawfish Boil Stock (recipe follows)
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1½ tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 medium artichokes, trimmed and outer leaves removed
- 6 red bliss potatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 (16-ounce) package cooked crawfish tails
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 (6-inch) baked piecrusts
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- Garnish: chicken skin cracklin’s
- In a medium cast-iron skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour; cook, stirring constantly, until a chocolate-colored roux forms. Remove from heat, and set aside.
- In a large stockpot, bring Crawfish Boil Stock, Worcestershire, lemon juice, salt, 1 tablespoon thyme, Tabasco, black pepper, and cayenne to a simmer; simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add artichokes, and cook for 13 minutes. Add potatoes, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove artichokes and potatoes. Peel artichokes, remove chokes, and quarter hearts.
- Thicken stock with reserved roux, and simmer for 25 minutes, skimming often. Adjust seasoning, if desired. Keep warm.
- In a large saucepan, place crawfish, corn, and reserved artichokes and potatoes. Add cream and enough sauce to barely cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook until potatoes are just tender.
- Remove crawfish, potatoes, and artichokes from sauce, and arrange in prepared crusts.
- To sauce, add butter and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme; bring to a simmer. Pour sauce over crawfish, potatoes, and artichokes. Garnish with cracklin’s, if desired. Serve immediately.
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 white onions, roughly chopped
- 3 pounds crawfish shells
- ½ bunch celery, roughly chopped
- 3 green bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil
- In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, and cook until opaque. Add crawfish shells, celery, bell pepper, and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until caramelized. Stir in wine, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping browned bits from bottom of pot with a wooden spoon. Add water to cover and crawfish boil seasoning; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Strain into a large container, discarding solids.