I’m from Louisiana.  Don’t make too much out of that.  I wouldn’t live there again for all the crawfish in Lafayette.  But I’d love to have a couple pounds of those juicy little buggers right now.  I am in the mood for some crawfish creole.  The key, of course is the sauce.  You got the sauce, you got it made.

Creole sauce is a basic staple in Louisiana cooking and there are as many recipes for it as there are cooks who want to make it.  I mean, you may want to have some chicken or shrimp or crawfish or scallops or crab or whatever: all of those wonderful things just cry out for a home in a pot of creole sauce.  

Here’s what you do.  Take a heavy bottom pot and put some EVOO in it and bring it up to heat.  Chop or julianne a medium onion (these amounts are strictly a matter of preference – not written in stone) a small bell pepper and a couple stalks of celery and a few cloves of garlic and saute that until it gets limp.  Keep it moving.  Don’t answer the phone or check your profile in the mirror or anything or you will loose it.

Next, I like to add a little tomato paste, 3 or 4 tablespoons.  This is for thickening and may be left out if desired.  It gets muddy and thick but keep things moving and you will be alright. Don’t worry if a little sticks to the bottom of the pot, it will come loose later. Then add a can of diced tomatoes with the juice (when your fresh crop comes in use them, of course) and mix that for a while until it is all even.  That’s when you add some stock slowly until you reach a consistency you like.  I like mine somewhat thick but the traditional sauce is thinner.  Not thin, but thinner than mine.  

Now, if you want to experiment a little with the consistency, take a little flour and sprinkle it on the mix before the stock is added and this will add to the thickening and give it more of a gravy like character.  I like that.  Don’t add too much.

I will always use basil, parsley, bay leaf, and sometimes thyme.  S & P of course. OK, I’ll confess, I use some ground chili, like Chimayo, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimayo,_New_Mexico
http://www.penderys.com/, or just some Cajun seasoning such as Tony Chachere, http://www.tonychachere.com/, who is down in Opelousas.  I’ve actually seen some of his stuff in the stores here.  The thing is as always, season to your taste.

So, you simmer this sauce for 20 or so minutes and if you are using seafood, add it now and cook until that is done – another 5 or 10 minutes.  If you are using chicken you can season it and brown it earlier and add it to the sauce and let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.  Add stock as needed.  Serve over rice.  No sides necessary unless you are up to making some hushpuppies.  

If you can wait until tomorrow to eat it it will be better.  Don’t ask me why.   A little crisp white wine would be good.  A little quiet Zydeco in the background.  Quiet Zydeco?  Did I say that?

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