Velvety crawfish bisque combines crawfish tail meat, cream, leeks, garlic and crab boil for a little heat. Serve warm with crusty bread.
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My husband loves a good old crawfish boil. I like crawfish, but not the process required to extract the meat … pinch the tail, suck the head. All that work for a tiny little morsel and the meat is usually so dang spicy I can’t even handle it. Careful, my Midwestern roots are showing.
Thankfully, NONE of that is required for this creamy bisque recipe. It’s velvety smooth and has all that yummy crawfish flavor without any of the work.
What’s the Difference Between a Bisque and a Chowder
A bisque and a chowder are both thick, creamy soups. However, a bisque is usually pureed until velvety smooth. A chowder has large chunky pieces.
Where to buy crawfish
If you live in the southeastern United States, live or boiled crawfish are readily available for purchase between the months of January and June, though March is usually prime because they are fat and the prices are lower. Because I live one state over from Louisiana, the largest producer of crawfish in the country, I can find peeled, frozen crawfish tails in the seafood section of my grocery store year round.
However, if you live outside the southeastern United States, crawfish may be a little harder to come by. Frozen crawfish can be purchased online and delivered from one of these reputable distributors:
How to Make Crawfish Bisque
Heat three tablespoons of olive oil and four tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large stock pot over medium heat.
Next add two, sliced and washed leeks. Leeks look like giant green onions, but have a much milder flavor. Slice the leeks in half and wash any dirt that may have gotten trapped between the layers.
Cut the two halves into ¼-inch slices. Use only the white and light green parts of the leek. The dark green leaves at the top of the stalk are too tough to eat. Once you’ve added the leeks to the pan, sauté them in the butter for about 10 minutes.
Add three cloves of chopped garlic and sauté for an additional three minutes. Then gradually add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. Whisk the flour while you’re adding it to the pan to prevent it from clumping up. Cook the flour for two minutes to get rid of that raw taste. Follow by whisking in one 6- ounce can of tomato paste.
After the tomato paste, add 1/4 cup of Cognac or brandy and 1/4 cup of dry sherry. I do LOVE the flavor the cognac adds to the bisque, but it’s a bit pricey. If you’re not a Cognac drinker, buying a bottle just for cooking may not be in your budget. You can substitute with a less expensive brandy, Scotch or bourbon. Sherry can be subbed with dry white wine. Once you’ve added the spirits, cook for three minutes
The alcohol burns off during the cooking process. But if you’d rather use a non-alcoholic option, replace the spirits with additional broth.
Chicken vs. seafood stock
You may not think something as simple as stock or broth could add so much flavor to a dish, but you would be amazed. I have made my own chicken stock for years. For a recipe like this, I prefer seafood stock. I frequently make my own shrimp stock by boiling down the shells for about 20 minutes. The same thing can be done with crawfish shells if you have them on hand.
Add the four cups of stock, two cups of heavy cream and one teaspoon of shrimp boil. If you like a little more heat, by all means, add more shrimp boil. Bring the bisque to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has thickened. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent the cream from scorching the bottom of your pan.
Remove the pot from the heat. Add one pound of crawfish meat and stir to heat through.
Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. I prefer to puree my soup using an immersion blender. Much less mess. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
How long will crawfish bisque last?
Crawfish bisque should be refrigerated within two hours. Store in a food safe container with a lid. Crawfish is very fatty and can spoil quickly, so I highly recommend eating the leftover bisque within four days.
Can you freeze crawfish bisque?
Soups that contain dairy such as milk or cream tend to separate and become grainy after they’ve been frozen. If you’ve made the soup to completion, I don’t recommend freezing.
However, if you anticipate needing to freeze the bisque ahead of time, skip the cream for now. You can always add it to the dish when reheating.
What to Serve with Crawfish Bisque:
- Cheese and Bacon Muffins
- Southern Skillet Cornbread
- Spinach Pear Salad with Dried Cranberries and Bacon
More Crawfish Recipes:
- Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffée
- Seafood Cornbread with Crawfish Cream Gravy
- Crawfish Beignets with Cajun Dipping Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 leeks white and light green parts washed and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 (6- unce can) tomato paste
- 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 4 cups seafood or chicken stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon shrimp boil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound cooked crawfish tail meat
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until the leeks are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped garlic and sauté for an additional three minutes.
- Gradually add the flour, whisking to prevent lumps. Cook for two minutes.
- Whisk in the tomato paste.
- Whisk in the cognac and sherry. Cook for three minutes.
- Add the seafood or chicken stock, heavy cream and shrimp boil. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the liquid has thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the cream from scorching.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Add the crawfish meat and stir to combine.
- Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Alternately, puree soup using an immersion blender.
- Return the pureed soup to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.