This recipe from our cookbook, That Sounds Good! was contributed by Bonerama co-founder Craig Klein. It's both a recipe for a Louisiana culinary classic, and a lesson in cooking philosophy: no fair using Chinese crawfish, and you should be listening to “your favorite music (preferably WWOZ)” while cooking, and no headphones or earbuds, since“the food you are cooking needs to be exposed to the music as well”.
1 stick of salted butter
Chopped red and/or green pepper
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and any Louisiana seasoning, to taste
Dash of sugar
2 bay leaves
1 pound Louisiana crawfish
Hot cooked brown rice
The key to making great etouffee is in the roux and using Louisiana crawfish. Constant stirring is necessary.
Open one bottle of your favorite wine. Melt the butter in a big heavy stockpot. Add 2 heaping wooden spoonfuls of flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. It will burn if you don't watch it and stir. Pour a glass of wine, put on some of your favorite music (preferably WWOZ), and cook the roux to a very dark brown with drinking the wine and stirring. It should be one shade darker than peanut butter.
Add onions, peppers, celery and tomatoes. Cook until tender. Add the chicken stock gradually. How much you add depends on how thick you want the roux—thin it out or keep it as thick as you like. Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, Louisiana seasoning, sugar and bay leaves. Add a lot of chopped garlic. Let cook for an hour or so over low heat, still drinking and listening to good music on your sound system, and stirring. No in-ear listening, as the food you are cooking needs to be exposed to the music as well, so turn it up. The music, not the fire.
Cook it down, then when you think it's ready, cut open the bag of Louisiana crawfish. Add it to the pot with without washing. Never wash the crawfish, as you want the fat to be in there—it's part of the flavor. It'll lighten up the color some. Since the crawfish are already cooked, you should turn the fire way down. Add a few drops of lemon juice. Let it simmer. Serve over rice. Enjoy with good friends and family.
You can find this recipe and more like it from Louisiana musicians and other friends of WWOZ in our cookbook: That Sounds Good!