Unlike the creamy bisques of France, this old Louisiana delicacy is spicy and substantial, usually served as a meal in one bowl (or two, or three). Traditionally it's brimming with meaty crawfish tails and their cleaned shells, the latter painstakingly filled with deviled crawfish. This process begins with a twentyfive-pound (twelve-kilogram) sack of live mudbugs, followed by a lot of mess, bother, and disgruntled aunts huddled around a kitchen table shoving stuffing into dozens of tiny shells. Their children are more likely to make this simplified version, afloat with little balls of stuffing, known as boulettes.
1. In a saucepan over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Seed and finely chop the bell pepper.
2. In a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil just until it begins to smoke. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking until you have a medium brown roux, 3-4 minutes. Add 1 chopped yellow onion, 2 chopped celery stalks, and the bell pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and stir just until it releases its fragrance, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree and stir for 2-3 minutes longer. Add the boiling stock, cayenne, bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons of the thyme, and season with salt and black pepper. Return the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a lively simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom to prevent sticking, until the bisque is the consistency of heavy (double) cream, about 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the boulettes. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the remaining chopped yellow onion and celery, and cook until golden, 7-8 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop 1 lb (500 g) of the crawfish tails and add to the onion mixture with 1/3 cup
(1 oz/30 g) green onions, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the remaining 2 teaspoons thyme, the Tabasco, and the breadcrumbs. Stir, remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in the eggs until the ingredients are well combined. Using wet hands so that the mixture doesn't stick, form into approximately 24 small ovals and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the boulettes until they are puffed and well browned, 20-30 minutes.
4. When the bisque is ready, peel the remaining 1 lb (500 g) crawfish tails and add to the bisque. Carefully add the boulettes. Simmer, gently stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
5. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Then stir in the remaining 1/3 cup (1 oz/30 g) green onions and remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve at once.
Serve with a full-bodied lager.
Note: Fresh or frozen crawfish and crawfish tail meal can be purchased from a number of sources.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (315g)|
|Recipe Makes: 6 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 569 (72%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 63.2g||84 %|
|Saturated Fat 9.8g||49 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 33.3g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 16.8g|
|Cholesterol 20.4mg||6 %|
|Sodium 571.2mg||20 %|
|Potassium 203.8mg||5 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 48.3g||14 %|
|Dietary Fiber 3.4g||14 %|
|Sugars, other 44.9g|
|Protein 8.7g||12 %|
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Calories per serving: 790
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