CRAWFISH BISQUE
	
	Perhaps the grandest dish in all of Cajun and Creole cuisine.
	This spicy, hearty bisque is sometimes served as thin as a soup,
	sometimes even thicker than an étouffée -- adjust
	the consistency to suit your taste. What makes it unique among
	all bisques in the culinary world is the addition of the stuffed
	crawfish heads (shells, actually) with crawfish dressing ... heavenly.
	
	For the bisque:
	
	
	20 pounds live crawfish
	4 packets Zatarain's Crab, Shrimp and Crawfish Boil seasoning
	3 lemons  quartered
	6 tbs     butter
	1/2 cup   peanut oil
	1 cup     flour
	2 large   onions, finely minced
	1 large   bell pepper, finely minced
	3 ribs    celery, finely minced
	4 cloves  garlic, finely minced
	5 cups    shellfish stock or water
	1 tbs     salt, or to taste
	          Freshly ground black pepper, to taste - ** Watch Out, Don't Overdo It !!
	1 tbs     Creole Seasoning
	1/4 ts    cayenne pepper ** Careful Here, Don't Overdo It !!!
	2 tsp     thyme
	1/2 cup   chopped green onion tops
	1/2 cup   chopped parsley
	5 dozen   stuffed crawfish heads (see below)
	          About 7-1/2 cups cooked Louisiana long-grain white rice
	
	Prepare a large crawfish-boiling pot with enough water for boiling the 
	crawfish; add Zatarain's and lemons and bring to a boil.  Drop the 
	crawfish in live, and boil for 10 minutes.  Ice down the boil and let the 
	crawfish soak in the cold spiced water; the longer you let them soak, the 
	more seasoning will be absorbed.
	
	Break off the tails.   Peel the tails, removing the vein but reserving the 
	little flap of crawfish meat that's over the vein.  Remove the crawfish 
	fat from the heads (the little yellow glob that's worth its weight in 
	gold) and reserve in a separate container.
	
	Clean 5 dozen crawfish heads for stuffing.  The so-called "head" 
	is actually the large red thorax shell.  Remove all inside parts, 
	including the eyes and antennae.  What should remain is a little tube with 
	two open ends and one open side.  Be careful; the shell must be scraped 
	clean on the inside and it can be a bit rough on the fingers.  (I'm told 
	that a beer can opener makes this job easier.)  Divide the crawfish fat 
	and tails evenly, reserving half for the bisque and half for the 
	stuffing.
	
	Prepare the stuffed crawfish heads according to the recipe below. This is 
	very labor-intensive, and takes a long time; most folks I know take two 
	days to make crawfish bisque, cooking the crawfish, cleaning the heads and 
	stuffing them the day before, and cooking the bisque on the second day.  
	Recruit some help if you can. Place the stuffed heads in a pan and 
	refrigerate.
	
	To prepare the bisque, make a roux with the butter, oil and flour.  Cook 
	over low-medium heat, being careful not to scorch the butter, until the 
	roux turns light brown.  Stir CONSTANTLY.  This means constantly, 
	without stopping for anything.  Add the onions, bell pepper, celery and 
	garlic, and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables 
	are soft and the roux is peanut butter-colored.  Remove from heat and 
	cool, continuing to stir.
	
	Gradually and carefully add the stock or water (stock preferably) and combine
	thoroughly, making a nice gravy.  Add half of the crawfish tails and crawfish fat,
	Creole seasoning, salt and peppers, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. 
	If you've got a little leftover crawfish stuffing, add it to the pot as well, as 
	it adds more body and flavor.
	
	Add the baked or sautéed crawfish heads, and cook over low heat for 
	30 minutes.  Add the onion tops and parsley just before serving.
	
	To serve, mound about 3/4 cup rice in large bowl, and divide the bisque 
	evenly between them.  Serve 6 stuffed crawfish heads with each serving.  
	Don't worry about table manners; you almost have to use your fingers 
	to get the stuffing out of the heads, and I've seen some folks (like 
	me) inserting tongue into crawfish head to lick all the stuffing out.  
	If you want to be more dainty, the tail end of your fork or spoon, or 
	the end of a butter knife, helps get the stuffing out more easily.  Make 
	sure everyone gets the same number of heads, or fights will break out; 
	they're that good.  I'm told that tradition requires the empty heads to be 
	placed around the rim of the bowl, so that some don't get more than others.
	It's easier to count them quickly that way.
	
	For the stuffed crawfish heads:
	
	1/4 cup   oil
	1/2 cup   flour
	2 medium  onions, finely minced
	1 large   bell pepper, finely minced
	3/4 cup   stock or water
	2 tsp     salt
	          Freshly ground black pepper - ** Watch Out - Don't Overdo It !!
	1/4 tsp   cayenne pepper ** Careful - Don't Overdo It !!!
	2 large   eggs, well beaten
	2 cups    plain French bread crumbs
	1/4 cup   chopped parsley
	1/4 cup   minced green onions with tops
	4 tbs     butter, melted
	5 dozen   cleaned crawfish heads
	          Flour for dusting
	
	Make a roux (Optional) with the oil and flour.  Add onions and bell peppers 
	and cook until tender, stirring constantly.  Mince or grind the remaining 
	half of the crawfish tails and add to the roux-onion mixture.  Add the 
	remaining crawfish fat and simmer for 15 minutes.
	
	Add stock, salt, peppers, breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, green onions and 
	butter.  Combine thoroughly, adjusting the consistency with more stock or 
	more bread crumbs as needed.
	
	Fill each head with stuffing.  Roll in flour and bake at 350F for 15 
	minutes, or fry in hot oil until the stuffing is golden brown.

	
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