Chef John Folse's Bisque of Louisiana Crawfish

Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 6–8 Servings

The term "crawfish bisque" has two meanings in Louisiana. The early Cajuns created a bisque by stuffing the cleaned heads of crawfish with a spicy crawfish mixture and then simmering them in a rich roux-based stew. The Creoles, with their European influence, created a lighter bisque, simmering the crawfish tails in a shellfish stock and finishing with heavy whipping cream. This recipe is an example of the Creole-style bisque.

2 pounds cooked crawfish tails
1/2 pound butter
2 cups minced onions
1 cup minced celery
1 cup minced red bell peppers
2 tbsps minced garlic
1 cup flour
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 quarts shellfish stock (see recipe)
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
1 pint heavy whipping cream
salt and black pepper to taste
Creole seasoning to taste
sherry (optional)

In a heavy-bottomed stockpot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until a white roux is achieved. (See roux recipes.) Stir in tomato sauce. Slowly add stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until it reaches a soup-like consistency. Reserve any extra stock. Fold in 1 pound of crawfish tails. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add thyme and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in heavy whipping cream and return mixture to a low simmer. Fold in remaining crawfish tails. Add reserved stock as necessary to maintain soup-like consistency. Finish with a touch of Creole seasoning. When ready to serve, ladle a generous portion of bisque into a soup bowl and garnish with a tablespoon of sherry, if desired.