Maque Choux is a classic stewlike dish found in Louisiana. It is commonly made from corn and tomatoes, but Nashan’s take forgoes the vegetables for sweet and meaty Louisiana crawfish. “This is something that I’m happy cooking,” says Nashan. “It’s instinctive.”
Serves | 6 |
- 1 lb bacon fat*
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 oz bacon fat
- 5 lbs whole crawfish (preferably from Louisiana)
- 3 onions, finely diced
- 3 celery stalks, finely diced
- 3 bay leaves, fresh
- 1½ cups white wine
- 5 cups chicken stock (low-sodium or homemade)
- 2 oz bacon fat
- 12 onions, finely diced
- 4 celery stalks, finely diced
- 3 sweet peppers, finely diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup brandy
- Crystal hot sauce or preferred brand
- Worcestershire sauce
- filé powder**
- 5 lbs crawfish tails, cooked (preferably from Louisiana)
- chowchow relish, to taste
| Preparation – Roux | Heat bacon fat in pot. Carefully whisk the flour into the fat. Continue to cook until the roux is dark red. Reserve and refrigerate until ready to use.
| Preparation – Crawfish Stock | Place bacon fat in a large pot over medium heat. Add whole crawfish. After 90 seconds, remove 5 to 10 crawfish and set aside to be used for garnish. Cook remaining crawfish until bright red. Remove from the pot and set aside. In the same pot, sweat onions, celery and bay leaves. Add cooked crawfish, minus the crawfish reserved for garnish, back to the pot. Deglaze with white wine. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour. Working in batches, pulse the stock in a blender to release extra flavor. Pour through a chinois or other fine strainer. Set stock aside and discard solids.
| Preparation – Maque Choux | Place bacon fat in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Sweat the onions, celery, sweet peppers and garlic. Deglaze the pot with brandy. Reduce until liquid is almost evaporated. Add crawfish stock and bring to a boil. Add the cold roux and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes as the mixture thickens. Reduce heat to low and add desired amounts of hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and filé powder. Add the cooked crawfish tails and reserved whole crawfish. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to reheat whole crawfish. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Remove whole crawfish. Fold in chowchow relish to taste. Arrange whole crawfish attractively on top of the dish and serve.
* Because it can be difficult to come up with 1 lb of bacon fat, vegetable oil can substituted.
** Filé powder, or ground sassafras leaves, can be purchased from a number of local spice shops and markets throughout the city. Nashan recommends Penzeys Spices in Maplewood or Jay International Food Co. in on South Grand Boulevard.