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Crawfish Boil Soup

By First, Make a Roux

There's nothing like a good, Louisiana crawfish boil with friends and family. Sometimes, though, you just can't make it home because you've used up all of your vacation days frolicking in the sun with your special someone. Yet, you still want to have some crawfish and the communal, convivial experience that is the crawfish boil.

The person who has run out of vacation time and the person who was craving crawfish are both yours truly. I say was, because I finally answered my craving by procuring a real boiling setup, and by having some crawfish shipped via Fedex from Louisiana.

Friends and neighbors showed up for the boil. Hubby helped with the preparations and heavy lifting, and I commandeered the boiling pot. It was a new and interesting experience for my husband and for most of our friends. For me, it was a walk down memory lane and an acknowledgement of the strong, seasonal culinary urges of home.

There may be nothing like a good crawfish boil, but there's also nothing like a good post-boil soup that uses up all of the goodies (garlic, potatoes, onions, sausage) that are thrown into the pot with the crawfish and come out of the pot infused with flavor. You can even use some of the stock if you are willing to invest some time to strain it thoroughly and reduce it.

This soup comes together rather quickly after some chopping. The ingredients have been pretty much cooked for you. You don't have to use the crawfish stock, but it will intensify the soup's flavor. If you go the stock route, don't be surprised if you need to use very little salt or Creole seasoning.

Another thing I do with this soup is whisk in a little flour at the end, rather than starting it with a full-on roux. This soup isn't extremely thick, but it is substantial, tasty, and a great way to re-live the crawfish boil.

Crawfish Boil Soup

Reserved from the crawfish boil:
1 1/2 c smoked sausage and/or andouille, diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 - 3 c fresh corn, cut from the cob
3 c potatoes (baby red or baby Yukon gold (I used both)), cut in eighths
1 lb peeled crawfish tails, rinsed of fat (You could leave the fat on if you'd like, but there's really enough fat in here already.)
1/2 c crawfish stock made by straining and reducing some of the water from the boiling pot (Optional, but gives a deeper flavor profile)

Other ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c dry white wine
3 stalks celery, minced
3 sprigs thyme, de-stemmed
1 c half and half + 3 c skim milk, OR 4 c whole milk (1/2 cup of skim or whole milk set aside for mixing with flour)
1/4 c flour
kosher salt
black pepper
Creole seasoning
Tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce
3 green onions, chopped

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add the smoked sausage and/or andouille and saute' to render the fat.
3. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and thyme and saute' until celery wilts slightly.
4. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring up the brown bits in the pot with a wooden spoon.
5. Add the corn, potatoes, crawfish stock (optional), half and half (if using), and milk (minus 1/2 cup for thickening).
6. Stir the mixture, taste and season to your liking with salt, pepper, Creole seasoning and hot sauce.
7. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the reserved cup of milk to create a paste, then add slowly to soup while whisking.
8. Add the crawfish and simmer for about 10 minutes.
9. Stir in green onions.
10. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with French bread and salad. You've got to get something green into your body to make up for all the decadence in this soup!

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