Chef John Folse's Sauce Acadian

Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 2 Quarts

Technically speaking, this sauce is a Nantua, which is classically made by adding crawfish butter and paprika to a béchamel. In Louisiana, we have further enriched the recipe to create Sauce Acadian.

2 pounds crawfish shells, heads included
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
6 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
15 whole peppercorns
1 gallon cold water
2 cups dry white wine
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup white butter roux (see recipe)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
½ ounce brandy
salt and white pepper to taste

In a 2-gallon stockpot over medium-high heat, combine crawfish shells and heads, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, water and wine. Bring mixture to a low boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes. During cooking process, skim off all impurities that rise to surface. When cooked, strain stock through cheesecloth or fine sieve. Discard shells and vegetables. Return hot stock to pot, bring to a low boil and reduce to approximately 2 quarts. Add tomato sauce and white roux, whisking constantly until roux is well blended and sauce is slightly thickened. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes. Add heavy whipping cream and brandy. Season with salt and pepper. Strain sauce for a second time, adjust seasonings and allow to cool.