Crawfish Pie is definitely a star of Cajun and Creole cuisines. It’s a savory filling made from succulent, Louisiana crawfish tail meat simmered with seasoning and spices in a rich stock, then baked to golden perfection in a pie shell. It's often saved for special occasions, but this recipe is so simple it can be made and enjoyed almost any time you want. Here's Sweet Daddy D’s Crawfish Pie recipe...delicious and simple.
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What is Crawfish Pie?
Crawfish Pie is similar in structure to a Chicken Pot Pie or a Meat Pie. It uses a rich filling made from crawfish tail meat simmered in the trinity, seasonings and stock, then loaded into a pie shell, covered with a crust and baked to golden perfection. It’s served by the slice, just like a pie. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between Cajun and Creole recipes and many dishes are offered in both styles. Crawfish Pie is no exception. My recipe is more Cajun in nature as it contains no tomato and the ingredients and spices are simple and basic...country cooking versus city cooking.
The crawfish pie filling is similar to crawfish etouffee but a little thicker. Etouffee uses a dark roux to make a rich sauce or gravy in which the tails are smothered then served over rice. While the ingredients for crawfish pie and etouffee are very similar, the methods are slightly different and the end result of each is very unique. Things they have in common? They are both delicious and very simple to make.
Crawfish Pies can also be made into small individual pies and hand-pies. Sometimes the small, individual pies are not covered with a crust but that is a personal preference.
Here Is What You Need
Crawfish tail meat. Louisiana crawfish are the absolute best. Frozen crawfish tails or leftover tail meat from a crawfish boil can be used. Try to avoid imported crawfish tails if at all possible. Check out the Hints and Tips section below for more on where to get crawfish tails.
Butter yellow onion
green pepper celery
green onions garlic
heavy cream dry vermouth (see Hints and Tips)
AP flour fresh parsley
The Herb and Spice Blend:
dry thyme leaves ground black pepper
kosher salt Creole seasoning
cayenne pepper (optional) Worcestershire (optional)
2 pack 9-inch pre-made pie shells
Egg and water to make an egg wash (see Hints and Tips)
Here are some things that will help with this recipe:
Here Is What You Do
First...you have a beer. As I said, Crawfish Pie is a game-changer but that doesn’t mean it's difficult. Pop the top off of a beer and sit down and read the recipe from top to bottom. Make sure you have all the ingredients and you know what to do with them. A little preparation goes a long way.
Mise en place
If you are using a premade pie crust (which is highly recommended) make sure to take it out of the fridge when you get started. It will be much easier to work with when it's room temperature. If you are making your own pie crust, do that before you start. Mix about 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning into the crawfish tails and set those aside until you are ready for them. All that’s left is measuring and chopping and there isn’t much of that. Measure the Herb and Spice Blend, cream, wine, tomato sauce, flour, butter and stock. Chop the trinity (yellow onions, bell pepper and celery) and place all those in one prep bowl. Chop the garlic, parsley and green onions and set each aside separately.
Now you know you have all of your ingredients and they are set up in an assembly line. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and have another beer.
Start with the vegetables
Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the butter is frothy, add the Trinity and cook until the onions are clear and they start to caramelize which will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure to stir it a few times. Add the garlic and stir well to combine.
Cook until the garlic is aromatic which will only take about 2 minutes. Next add the Herb and Spice Blend, the parsley and green onions, stir well to combine and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
Thicken with flour and add the liquids
Add the flour to the Dutch oven and stir very well to combine all the ingredients. You are not exactly making a roux, but the flour serves a similar purpose of being a thickener. Stir frequently for about 3 or 4 minutes so that the flour taste cooks out.
Next, add in the tomato sauce, heavy cream and dry vermouth (and Worchestershire, if using), mix well and let it slowly simmer for about 3 minutes.
Add the stock to this, using a little at first to deglaze the pan, if needed. Stir all the stock in very well, lower the heat and allow it to simmer slowly for 5 to 10 minutes while it thickens slightly. I have found that using crawfish stock adds a lot of color to the filling. If you use chicken stock, there is not so much color but there is still great flavor.
Add the Crawfish Tails
Mix the crawfish tails into the sauce a handful at a time making sure to mix them in completely before adding more. Once the tails are all added, let everything simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and allow the filling to cool before adding it to the pie shell.
Build the pie
Roll out one of the pie crusts onto a 9-inch pie pan and gently press down. Trim any excess crust that hangs over the side of the pie pan.
Pour the crawfish filling into the pie crust and smooth it out gently with a spatula.
Place the second pie shell on top of the filling and gently press down on the edges and trim off any excess crust. Use the tines of a fork all the way around the pie to seal the outer edge. Make some small slits in the top of the pie shell so steam can escape while baking. Combine one egg and about 2 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash and lightly brush the top and edges of the pie.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and place it in a preheated 375-degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove the pie from the oven and let it sit for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
That’s it, all there is to it. Crawfish Pie is great served with these delicious side dishes:
Hints and Tips
You should use Louisiana crawfish tail meat, which usually can be found frozen in the freezer section of grocery stores and seafood markets in Louisiana and across the country. The key to the sweetness of Louisiana crawfish tails is in the "fat"-that’s the yellow-orange stuff squeezed from the head and sticking to the tail meat. Actually, it’s not really fat at all but part of the crawfish digestive system. Don't wash that stuff off-it packs a lot of deliciousness.
This is a perfect dish to use leftover tail meat from a crawfish boil which gives you the added dimension of the flavor from the crawfish boil. Crawfish boil tail meat and crawfish stock made from the shells and heads from a crawfish boil...oh, man, I can’t even describe the flavor punch you’ll get! If you have leftover crawfish from a boil, the peeled meat can be frozen. Don’t forget the fat! Also, save the heads and shells to make crawfish stock. The heads and shells can be frozen until you are ready to make the stock.
Imported crawfish? It's not uncommon to find imported crawfish tails, usually from China, in the seafood market or grocer’s freezer section. Read the package carefully as they are usually branded in a way to make them appear to be from Louisiana. I have found these to be inconsistent in quality and the “fat” is bitter. If you need to use imported crawfish meat, I recommend rinsing the tails by soaking in a bowl of cold water for a minute or two and then rinsing them in a colander. It almost breaks my heart to recommend actually rinsing of the “fat”, but I have learned through experience that it is necessary with imported tails. Even after that, imported crawfish tails don’t compare to Louisiana crawfish.
If you don’t have a local source for Louisiana crawfish tail meat, you can order them online at Cajun Grocers (dot-com) and Tony’s Seafood. I don’t have any affiliation with these businesses, but I have used them both and know they are reliable and have quality products. You can also search Amazon (I do have an affiliate relationship with Amazon and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The price you pay as a consumer does not change, but I may make a small commission based on your purchase).
Using a pre-made, store-bought pie shell really makes this a very simple dish. If you have a trusted recipe for pie crust that you love, you can certainly use that, but pre-made crusts, like Pillsbury, works extremely well.
Other substitutes? You can easily use Chicken Stock in place of the Crawfish Stock. The flavor will still be great, but the color may not be as rich with the chicken stock. The recipe for this article was made with Crawfish Stock and you can see the dark color in the photos. In place of the dry Vermouth, you can substitute any dry white wine or sherry and of course, you could skip it altogether. A suitable substitute for the egg wash is melted butter...just brush a light coat all over the top crust.
Can crawfish pie be frozen? Yes, it freezes very well. Make it up to the point that it would go in the oven and then wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil so that it is airtight. If you can fit it in a vacuum sealer bag, that’s even better. The pie will keep up to about 6 months in the freezer (if it’s air-tight). When you are ready to serve it, let it defrost in the refrigerator for about 24 hours, then bake as directed.
What about leftovers? Leftover crawfish pie will last 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator if wrapped airtight in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. You can freeze leftover crawfish pie for about 3 to 4 months if sealed properly. Pro tip: Freeze the leftover pie wrapped in plastic wrap overnight and then place the fully frozen leftover pie in a vacuum-sealed bag. This way, the vacuum sealer will not crush the leftover pie.
Here are some other great Crawfish dishes from Sweet Daddy D:
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Yeah You Right!
Here's What You Need
- 2 pounds crawfish tails
- ½ cup butter
- 1 ½ cups yellow onion chopped
- 1 cup green pepper chopped
- ¼ cup celery chopped
- ½ bunch green onions sliced
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ⅛ cup dry Vermouth
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup Crawfish Stock substitute chicken stock if necessary
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- ¼ cup tomato Sauce
Herb and Spice Blend
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning Plus some for the crawfish tails
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire optional
- 2 pieces premade pie shell
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Here's What You Do
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mix about 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning into crawfish tails and set aside; chop and measure all other ingredients; set the pie shell out so it gets to room temperature
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat
- Saute trinity until softening and clearing-about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often
- Add the garlic and saute until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes
- Mix in the Herb and Spice Blend, parsley and green onions and stir for about 2-3 minutes
- Add the flour and blend to incorporate, stir for about 2 to 3 minutes
- Add the tomato sauce, cream and vermouth (and Worchestershire, if using); simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes
- Add the stock. Start with a little to deglaze the Dutch oven. Once all the stock is added, lower the heat and simmer for about 5 -10 minutes
- Add the crawfish tails a little at a time and blend in completely before adding more. Once all the crawfish tails are added, simmer for about 5 minutes
- Remove the filling from heat and set aside to cool slightly, mout15 to 30 minutes
- Place one pie shell in a 9-inch pie pan and trim off the excess crust around the sides
- Pour the filling into the pie shell
- Place the second pie crust on top of the pie, use the tines of a fork to seal around the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut small slits in the top of the pie to release steam as the pie bakes
- Combine 1 egg and about 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash and lightly brush the on top of the pie
- Place the pie pan on a baking sheet and bake in the 375-degree farenhiet oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top