Last month on the trip to Disney World we ate at Pat O’Briens while we were visiting Universal Studios. If you have ever been to New Orleans then you know Pat O’s for their food and hurricane drinks. We used to take an annual trip there every year with some friends over the Easter holiday, which looking back I’m glad we did and got to see so much of it before the hurricane washed it away.

My husband loves their crawfish etouffee and as daring as I am I know that I can’t re-create that recipe. I have Louisiana influence around me as that’s where my dad’s side of the family is from and there’s so many different types and home special secretes it’s crazy. For this recipe I resorted to the Internet. There’s tons of copy cat recipes out there so I thought I would start with one of those and adjust the recipe where needed as I usually do until it tasted like it. I got lucky and found a recipe on Food Network courtesy of Pat O’Briens, New Orleans, and I couldn’t wait to run to the store and get everything I needed.

The recipe tasted just as we remembered I just wish I let the roux get a little darker, but I rushed it. (If you watch Top Chef you know it will make a huge difference in flavor!) I recommend double the rice recipe because it makes a lot of etouffee sauce unless you want to cut the sauce recipe in half. To save a little time I used the pre-diced 7 ounce containers of chopped celery and tri-colored bell peppers.

Crawfish Etouffee
(Adapted from Food Network)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 crawfish tails, thawed, rinsed and drained (really wrong amount they probably meant 8 pounds)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
3 cups Etouffee sauce, recipe follows
Hot pepper sauce, as desired
Rice Pilaf, recipe follows
2 bunches sliced green onions, for garnish
In a large saute pan, melt butter over high heat. When butter just begins to brown, add crawfish and garlic, saute for 2 minutes. Add sauce, reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes Add hot pepper sauce, to taste. Serve over Rice Pilaf and garnish with green onions.

Etouffee Sauce:
1 2/3 cups vegetable oil (soybean or cotton seed)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups medium dice onion, yellow or white
1 1/2 cups medium dice green pepper
1 cup medium dice celery, no leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 3/4 teaspoons ground white pepper
13/4 teaspoons whole thyme leaves
10 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 2/3 cups diced tomatoes, with juice

They left out directions on the crawfish so here’s what I did… I used frozen boiled crawfish tossed them in a pan with some butter and lightly pan fried them. Toss them in with the fished sauce and rice.

In a heavy-bottomed 8-quart saucepot on high, heat oil until just smoking. Whisk in flour, reduce heat, and stir constantly until a peanut butter colored roux develops.
Add onion, green pepper, and celery; stir in and cook while stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cayenne, white pepper, and thyme. Cook 3 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the stock, then tomatoes.

Bring to simmer and cook 20 minutes, skim to remove foam as needed. Season, to taste. Remove from heat, cover and hold for later.

Note: This sauce can be used as a base to make gumbo, such as chicken and sausage.

Yield: 2 quarts

Rice Pilaf:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup small dice red pepper
1/2 cup small dice yellow pepper
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 3/4 teaspoons ground white pepper
1 3/4 teaspoons whole thyme leaves
1 3/4 teaspoons salt*
5 1/4 cups chicken stock or broth, heated
2 2/3 cups parboiled rice

In a heavy weight 4-quart saucepot, melt butter over medium heat. Add diced peppers, stir and cook 5 minutes.

Stir in garlic, cayenne, white pepper, and thyme and cook 2 minutes. Add hot stock and bring to a boil.

Stir in rice, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until rice in just tender.

Remove from heat, fluff rice with a fork, and adjust seasonings.

Keep in warm place until needed.

*Note: If using canned broth, you may want to salt, to taste, at the end of cooking.

Yield: 2 quarts

I couldn’t pick which one I liked best so you get a bonus up close spoon shot!

Here’s my little kitchen helper standing on my new “Anti-Fatigue Mat” that came in that day($20 at Office Depot). It works well and I recommend you get one for yourself it you spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen like I do. She didn’t get lucky this time, because I didn’t drop anything. Sorry Mocha!!

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