Another Mardi Gras goes down in history … parties, parades, queens and kings, beads, balcony get-togethers, back yard crawfish boils, jambalaya, barbecued shrimp and Zydeco music … talk about fun! This list could go on and on but what I want to share today is our family’s favorite, crawfish etouffée and oh-so-delicious boudin kolaches.
We have a “Cajun” connection ever since living in Baton Rouge for four years. Our next-door neighbors on either side were native Louisianans (Morgan City and New Orleans) and I didn’t hesitate to learn their family’s secret recipes. I took with me to Texas their jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, dirty rice and barbecued shrimp recipes along with several more. My bread pudding recipe was a gift from one of my coworkers in Baton Rouge. I take my hat off to my executive chef at the Camelot Club. More often than not you would find me in my business attire, high heels and all, donning an apron and watching, learning, and helping our chef as he shared with me his recipe secrets. To use a great Louisiana phrase – “Talk about good!”
Moving to the Gulf Coast didn’t stop my passion for Louisiana foods from Cajun, Creole and French to the African connection. Lucky for me I learned more from my Metairie-relocated best friend and let me tell you her pralines are to die for. Enough talk about all this great food; “Please join our table” as we enjoy these great foods that always bring wonderful memories.
My Easy Mock Crawfish Étouffée
(Phil and I created this recipe after enjoying Steamboat Bill’s version in Lake Charles, La.)
1 pound crawfish tails or shrimp (I do not buy imported frozen Asian, I always save enough after a crawfish boil to make this and freeze a few cups for later use)
1 3/4 sticks unsaltedbutter or (1 stick butter and 1/4 cup crawfish fat)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (include tops)
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup (do not dilute)
2 cans Rotel tomatoes with green chile, pureed with juices
1/2 cup beer, any variety
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
In a large sauté pan, melt butter. Add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes then add the flour, green onion, parsley and seasonings; sauté 5 more minutes. Add Rotel tomatoes, Worcestershire Sauce, cream of mushroom soup, beer and crawfish, simmer for 5 minutes. Just before serving squeeze lemon into the dish. Serve over steamed white rice and top with more minced parsley if desired. Pass Tabasco sauce if additional heat is desired! Note: My husband Phil likes his a bit thinner so he adds V-8 juice to thin it to a soupier consistency.
Easy Boudin Kolaches “La. meets Texas”
This is a fast and easy way to make these Texas favorite sausage bites. If you don’t have time to make these and are yearning for some boudin, head over to Sunshine Donuts on West Lake Houston Parkway. Tell the owner, Sophia, I sent you; her boudin kolaches are great!
1 large Cajun boudin sausage link (I get Zummo’s at H-E-B)
One 8-ounce can crescent rolls
1 jalapeño, sliced or 1/4 cup jalapeno jelly (I use The Jelly Girl Jelly, made locally here in Kingwood. You can order it at facebook.com/thejellygirl)
2 slices of Colby Jack cheese cut into 1-inch strips
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cook the sausage in a pan over medium heat, about 7-8 minutes or till done. While the sausage is cooking, open the crescent roll can and separate the pieces (there should be 8) and spread them out over a parchment lined sheet pan. After the sausage is cooked and cool enough to touch, cut into 1-inch slices. Place a slice of jalapeño on the dough or 1/2 teaspoon of the jelly, add a piece of sausage, and top with a strip of cheese. Wrap the dough over the ingredients, closing at one end and leave a small opening at the other. Repeat until all the dough has been used. Top with melted butter. Bake for 12 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Serve with extra jalapeno jelly on the side.
Why not make your own dough? Try this:
Easy Kolache Dough
1 1/4 cup self-rising flour
1 cup whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
Mix all together in a large bowl and form into a ball. Roll out onto a floured board and cut into 8-10 rectangles. Proceed as directed above.