Crawfish Stew-Fay

10.16.2020 | In Recipes

Marcelle Bienvenu, Chef, Food Writer and former instructor at the Nicholls State University Chef John Folse Culinary Institute

A little over 10 years ago, I co-authored a book on the birds of Louisiana’s wetlands published by LSU Press. Although my father and brothers were passionate hunters and often brought home food for the table, my research for the book made me appreciate more our natural resources along the marshes and swamps of our state. I have been fortunate to visit many coastal areas of the United States and know how important these regions are to our country. Of course, being a native of south Louisiana, I have always been in awe of our coast where wildlife is so abundant.

Like gumbo, each family or region of south Louisiana has their own. The first rule of Cajun cuisine, is that there are NO rules. Do whatever tickles your taste buds. Who makes the best gumbo – your grandmother, mother, father, someone in your family – that’s because our taste buds become familiar to what is cooked in our family circle. Like other iconic Louisiana dishes (such as gumbo and jambalaya), there are as many recipes for crawfish etouffee as there are bayous that criss-cross the state. This is a simple but delicious version that my father and mother prepared dating back to the 1960’s before crawfish was king in Acadian cuisine – when most of the freshwater crustaceans came from the Atchafalaya Basin and before crawfish ponds became prevalent.This is a classic etouffee (etouffee means to smother in French) from south Louisiana. It’s called a stew-fay simply because of the slurry (a combination of water and flour) that’s added to thicken it up a bit. My mother was of the opinion that if you used a roux, then it became a stew. This is her recipe.

Crawfish Stew-Fay Recipe

Chef Marcelle Bienvenu shares her mother's recipe for this take on Crawfish Etouffee as a stew-fay, reminding us that there are no rules in Cajun cooking.

Yields2 Servings
Total Time30 mins
 1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter
 2 cups chopped yellow onions
 1 cup chopped green bell peppers
 1/2 cup chopped celery
 2 lb. peeled crawfish tails
 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water
 Salt and cayenne
 2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
 Cooked long-grain rice
1

Heat the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy pot. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery, and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Add the crawfish and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to throw off a little liquid, about 5 minutes.

*Note: When removing the crawfish from the bag, rinse the bag out with a little water and add the liquid to the pot when adding the crawfish.

2

Add the water/flour mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne. Remove from the heat. Add the green onions and parsley. Serve in bowls over rice.

Do you want to add your recipe to our Coastal Cookbook? Submit yours now!

Ingredients

 1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter
 2 cups chopped yellow onions
 1 cup chopped green bell peppers
 1/2 cup chopped celery
 2 lb. peeled crawfish tails
 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water
 Salt and cayenne
 2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
 Cooked long-grain rice

Directions

1

Heat the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy pot. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery, and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Add the crawfish and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to throw off a little liquid, about 5 minutes.

*Note: When removing the crawfish from the bag, rinse the bag out with a little water and add the liquid to the pot when adding the crawfish.

2

Add the water/flour mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne. Remove from the heat. Add the green onions and parsley. Serve in bowls over rice.

Crawfish Stew-Fay