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Crayfish Etouffee

4 teaspoons Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 small bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup fish stock or clam juice
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound crayfish, peeled
1/2 cup chopped scallions, including the greens

Heat oil in a heavy skillet until hot. Gradually stir in the flour
and stir constantly until the mixture turns brown. Be very careful
you don't burn roux.

Saute the onions, garlic, celery, and Bell pepper in the roux for
five minutes.

Add the tomatoes, stock, basil, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a
boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen
minutes or until it thickens to a sauce.

Add the hot sauce, crayfish, and scallions and simmer for an
additional five minutes or until the crayfish/shrimp are cooked.
Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Serve with celery seed coleslaw, green beans, corn bread.

Variations: Use shrimp or lobster meat in place of the crayfish

For the inexperienced, making the roux can be tricky ... be certain
stir the roux constantly (I mean constantly!) or it will burn (if
you see dark flecks forming in the roux, its burnt and it is best
to throw it out and start over). Think of it this way - until
you've done it a few times, operate under the following edict: "You
can't stir the roux too much" Cook roux until it turns "peanut
butter brown" or darker.

Use only fresh tomatoes, even if they're the supermarket hothouse
variety. The first few times I made this stuff it was awful; I
later learned why - I had substituted canned tomatoes for fresh

Instead of the required thyme, and basil try substituting the
following: one tablespoon of Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic. Also,
amount of increase Louisiana Hot Sauce to two tablespoons; in its
original form, this recipe is pretty tame!

Serve over cooked rice with homemade biscuits.


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