We spent this past Saturday at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (Jazzfest to most of us) with our dear friends from South Carolina. I absolutely love seeing Jazzfest from the perspective of someone who has never seen it before.
Jazzfest's Crawfish Monica
The sights, the sounds, and of course, the smells of the fest are almost too good to be true. ALMOST! Jazzfest is one of those great New Orleans events that brings together the very best things about our dear city. You spend the day lounging in a Coleman chair with the sun beating down on you listening to the rhythm of jazz and sipping on strawberry lemonade. And just when you think it couldn’t get any better, a second line parade led by men and women dressed in brightly colored suits wearing smiles as big as Louis Armstrong’s dance by you. At that moment, you think all is right in the world. And then someone brings you a bite of crawfish bread, or crawish Monica, or a crawfish beignet, or maybe a crawfish sack.
Jazzfest Second Line
Photo Credit: MATTHEW HINTON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE
And that’s when you’ve realized you’ve died and gone to heaven, because certainly heaven must be filled with Mardi Gras Indians adorned in the most elaborate and beautiful feathered costumes and it must sounds like Irma Thomas or Trombone Shorty and it definitely tastes like crawfish etouffe.
Trombone Shorty at 2010 Jazzfest
Photo Credit: Keith I. Marszalek / NOLA.com
Sunday night, my mom and dad hosted a crawfish boil for our out of town guests. We had such a nice time sitting around the table peeling crawfish and talking. The only problem with a crawfish boil is what to do with all those leftover tails. The good news, is that there are plenty of solutions! This recipe appeared in our local newspaper and has been on my list of "must-makes" for a while. Maybe now that we have several cups of crawfish tails (I would rather use fresh than frozen), it's finally time to get cookin!
John Besh's Crawfish Cornbread Dressing
Makes 10 servings
4 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
1⁄4 pound andouille sausage, diced
1⁄4 pound hot pork sausage meat, removed from casing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1⁄2 green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups peeled crawfish tails, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
6 cups crumbled cornbread
2 cups chicken stock
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the bacon fat, andouille and pork sausage into a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the pork with the back of a wooden spoon. When the pork sausage meat has browned, add the onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the crawfish and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the sausage and crawfish and stir together until well combined. Spoon the dressing into a large greased heat-proof dish. At this point, the dressing may be covered and refrigerated (for up to 1 day) until you are ready to bake it.
Bake the dressing in a preheated 350-degree oven until it is piping hot and golden brown, 15 to 30 minutes.
Do you have a favorite festival food?