Crawfish Stuffed Shells with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Good morning world! Its FRIDAY and I’m so excited! I don’t really know why I’m so excited, I just am. I think Friday’s are always my favorite because I know the Kajun King will be home with us all weekend and we get him all to ourselves… no sharing! NO! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!

We don’t have any wild, crazy plans, other than possibly getting around to building planter boxes for my herbs. I’m really looking forward to this project because I feel bad that my little flavor makers don’t have a permanent home yet. Its also going to add some visual appeal to the back patio, which is otherwise Krewes territory. We also talked about going to Maas Nursery in Kemah/Seabrook, Tx. I’m sure I’ll find some new plant that I just *can’t* live without! I’m totally obsessed with gardening these days! Spring can’t get here soon enough! I’m dying to rip out everything in the front yard and put in all new flowers! Louisiana themed of course! (May even limit my colors to just purples, yellows, and golds! GEAUX TIGERS!)

Ok ok ok! Enough about my gardening addiction! Thats not why you came to this post! No, you came for the crawfish goodness! So here it is!  Please excuse my crappy food pics, I’m working on using a better camera.

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Now a bit of warning, when I cook, its like a hurricane in my kitchen. I’m literally all over the place and it’s best you just keep out and stay in your respective corners of the house (or locked in any interior closure that doesn’t have windows) until I blow over and ring the dinner bell. Its nearly impossible for me to cook in just one pot or use just one spoon. No! If it’s in there and it’s clean, it’s going to get used. It’s just the way it has to be… it’s the law of my kitchen! (Side bar: I DESPISE doing the dishes!!! And usually will put off washing them until the next day! Don’t judge me!)

So now that I’ve got that warning out of the way, hopefully you’ll be able to follow along. I strongly suggest reading the recipe start to finish before starting it and making notes along the way. I also suggest taste-testing the whole time you cook so you can tweak it (and maybe twerk it…yes I just said that… and yes I’ve been known to twerk it in my own kitchen! I’ve even literally dropped it like it was hot… because well… the pot was hot and I forgot to use a mit!). I also don’t like to stick to strict cooking guidelines because thats lame, boring, and stuffy. I am none of those things. At least I like to think so anyway. So on your mark… get set…GEAUX!

Boil your pasta shells according to the package (about 8-10 shells), drain, then set aside in fridge until ready to start cooking the rest. You want them cooled so they are easy to handle and not flopping around like… well a wet noodle! DUH!!

Crawfish Stuffing

  • 1-2 lbs boiled crawfish*, chopped or minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tbs butter
  • pepper to taste

Melt butter, saute onions until clear, add minced crawfish and pepper on med/high heat. Heat thoroughly for 10 mins, then set aside. Don’t over cook, your crawfish will turn rubbery and grey. Eww gross! I suggest not adding salt to this because the crawfish should already be salty enough if they were boiled at home. if you’re buying frozen, already boiled and peeled crawfish, it a good idea to taste this once its cooked together to see if you need salt, otherwise it will be insanely salty!

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

  • 1 12oz jar of roasted red peppers in plain juice/oil
  • salt/pepper/garlic powder to taste
  • 2-3 tbs half-and-half
  • or you can take the time to roast your own peppers in the oven with a little olive oil

In a saucepan, pour entire jar of peppers in and season, cook down on med heat. Its ok if they start sticking to the pot a little bit, just stir occasionally. Once you’re done making everything else, scrape into a food processor, add half and half, and puree. Feel free to taste test this until you find the reason seasoning combo that you like. You can even add more half and half if you’re feeling fancy!

Béchamel Sauce

(Optional, but it helps bind the crawfish stuffing and makes this dish super fancy and gormet in my opinion. Also you can throw this word around at the dinner table and your friends will think you’re some kind of culinary prodigy!)

  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, heated (next time I will use half and half or heavy cream for a sweater/thicker sauce)
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes. (You’ve pretty much just made a white roux! See! You can cook fancy cajun food!) Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.  Cover it with wax paper to prevent a skin from forming until you’re ready to use it.

Assembly:

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Mix a couple tablespoons of the béchamel sauce in with your crawfish stuffing mix. You don’t want it soupy, you want just enough to bind it together really well. You can also add some freshly grated parmesan for added pizazz! Stuff shells and set inside a greased casserole dish. Oh crap! I forgot to tell you to preheat the oven to 350! Whoops! See this is why I said to read this all the way through before starting! HAHA! :::back on task, back on task::: So yeah, stuff the shells, put in casserole dish, gently pour the béchamel sauce over and around the shells, sprinkle with cheese, and pop into the oven until cheese is melted, 10 mins. Careful not to brown the cheese. Remove from oven, plate (plating: to literally put on a plate…now’s your time to really shine! Make it fancy yall!) You can either pour some of the red pepper sauce on the plate before PLATING your shells or pour some of the sauce over them. You do what you want darlin! Its your bitchin’ kitchen!

Well there you have it! Feel free to swap out the crawfish for crab. Thats originally how the idea of this dish started. I just used crawfish because thats what I had. I don’t know how this would taste with shrimp or chicken, but you could try it that way I’m sure. If you do, please let me know how it turned out!

Have a great weekend! And if you have any questions about this recipe feel free to comment below or email me at KajunKween@gmail.com

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