Thursday, April 28, 2016


With crawfish season in full tilt the obsession with the crawfish boil is raging as fiercely as the boil water.  However, in the old days crawfish (while certainly available to those that wanted it) was not necessarily a springtime staple in the New Orleans diet and there are no recipes or directions in vintage cookbooks for what we now know as a crawfish boil until much later.  (In fact, until more recently, the crab boil was more typical in the New Orleans area than was crawfish.)

However, there are vintage crawfish recipes in older cookbooks - some of them are pretty creative.  I would encourage those who follow this blog to give other options a try.  Here are two from 1941.  (The Tomato Cheese Sauce is a tomato soup based shortcut - homemade cream of tomato soup or a basic Creole sauce with a cup of grated cheese added and melted in will work if one prefers.)

by Mrs. Geo. A. Chehardy (New Orleans)

   With Tomato Cheese Sauce

Filling for Dumplings:

2 cups boiled, minced crawfish mixed with 1 tablespoon each minced onion, parsley, green pepper and celery.  Season highly and moisten with melted butter.


Sift together 2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 tsp. salt.  Cut in 2 tablespoons shortening and 1 beaten egg.  Add enough milk (about 3/4 cup) to make a moderately firm dough.  Roll thin; cut in large rounds.  Place a generous amount of the crawfish mixture on each and fold the edges of the dough to the center.  Arrange in a buttered pan; bake in a hot oven.[1]  Delicious.

Tomato Cheese Sauce:

This is a quick method sauce that is excellent. and when hot  Heat 1 can of cream of tomato soup[2] and when hot stir in 1 cup of grated yello cheese.  Cook long enough to melt cheese.  Serve on the dumplings.


2 ½ tablespoons butter
½ onion
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups hot milk
2 hard boiled eggs
2 ½ tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup chopped celery
1 cup boiled, chopped crawfish
Steamed rice
1 teaspoon curry

Melt butter; add onion and cook until onion is tender.  Stir in the flour; add milk; cook 10 minutes.  Add all ingredients (except the rice).  Cook over hot water 15 minutes.  To serve arrange mounds or rice, then a border of the curried crawfish.  Surround with a border of panéed bananas.  To pané bananas dip in egg, then in crumbs and fry.[3]

[1] 350º for 15 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.
[2] 1 can tomato soup diluted with 1 can milk.
[3] Use fairly green bananas; quarter by cutting in half lengthwise then widthwise; deep fry in oil or in a skillet with a a generous layer of oil until golden brown.

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