Boiled crawfish in the springtime is a unique Louisiana custom. As spring bursts into the air and the weather warms up, crawfish come out of their burrows. We get a few short months of eating these freshwater crustaceans. I have several favorite recipes for cooking with crawfish. This recipe comes from Aunt Gaye who stated, “this is the best recipe I’ve seen in a long time.” The casserole reminds me of a spicy quiche, full of vegetables, cheese, cornbread and crawfish.
Aunt Gaye’s recipe
My husband’s Aunt Gaye is an excellent cook. Occasionally she shares a recipe with me and I always take note. These are good recipes. Aunt Gaye sent me this one last fall and I’ve been waiting for a chance to try it. She’s right, it is an excellent dish. Just a little spicy; a touch of cornbread taste. I like all the vegetables and cheese in addition to the cornbread and crawfish in the recipe.
The recipe was originally posted on Allrecipes.com named Crawfish Cornbread. (//allrecipes.com/recipe/213573/crawfish-cornbread/). This recipe does not have the texture of cornbread as originally named. It is more akin to cornbread stuffing or even quiche. So I renamed it a casserole.
Secondly, Aunt Gaye substituted Jiffy Cornbread mix for the cornmeal. The cornbread mix has a finer corn flour texture than cornmeal. It also adds a slight sweetness. I used Martha White Sweet Yellow Cornbread and Muffin mix.
Thirdly, we tweaked some of the ingredient quantities but essentially used most of the ingredients in the originally recipe. For a less spicy version, omit the jalapeno peppers and reduce the cayenne pepper to a pinch (or omit entirely).
What if you don’t have crawfish?
Crawfish tails can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never eaten them. But they are delicious–sort of a cross between shrimp and crabmeat. Give them a try. Crawfish tails have a wider distribution than in past years. Look for them in the frozen seafood section of large grocery stores chains such as Cosco’s. The recipe uses peeled and cooked crawfish tails; although partially cooked or even raw crawfish can be substituted. Here are peeled, cooked crawfish as purchased. Crawfish are often sold in 12 oz packages rather than 1 lb packages–either size can be used.I suggest not using Chinese crawfish — these have an entirely different taste. Because of labeling laws in the state, Louisiana crawfish will be identified as “a Louisiana product.”What if you don’t have crawfish available? You can still make the recipe. Substituting crabmeat gives a similar result. Small shrimp can be used–the taste is changed slightly. Ground sausage or hamburger can also be used–saute and cook these ingredients first.
Making the recipe
Season the crawfish with the cayenne pepper, garlic powder and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (or seasoned salt). Mix all the ingredients except the cornbread in a large bowl.Aunt Gaye used one box of Jiffy Cornbead/Muffin mix which is an 8 oz box. For the Martha White family size cornbread mix, I used 1/2 box or 2 cups mix.
Bake in a hot 375 degree oven for about 45 – 50 minutes until bubbly and browned and the sides start to pull away from the edges. This casserole baked for an hour. Probably a bit too long but still tasty.
Cajun Crawfish Cornbread Casserole by MayleesKitchen
- 1 lb pound, peeled and partially cooked or fully cooked crawfish tails (12 oz package can be substituted), defrosted
- 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning or seasoned salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (about 3/4 cup chopped)
- 1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup) (optional)
- 1 (4 oz) jar diced pimentos
- 1 (14.75 oz) can cream-style corn
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil plus additional oil for oiling casserole dish
- 1 cup (4 oz) sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 (8.5 oz) box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix OR 2 cups of family size Martha White Sweet Cornbread and Muffin mix OR substitute 1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal, 2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt — increase cornmeal to 2 cups for firmer casserole
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 9″x13″ casserole dish or 10″ cast iron skillet.
- In medium bowl, combine crawfish tales, Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Set side.
- In large bowl, combine onion, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, diced pimentos, cream style corn, eggs, vegetable oil and cheddar cheese. Stir to combine.
- Add in the seasoned crawfish tails.
- Add the cornbread mix. Pour into oiled 9″ x 13″ casserole dish or oiled 10″ cast iron skillet.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes until bubbly, browned on top and edges begin to pull away from sides of casserole dish.
- Remove from oven, let set on counter for 15 – 20 minutes, then cut into 6 slices and serve.
I baked the casserole in a 10″ heavy cast iron skillet for 45 minutes. You could also use a 9″ x 13″ baking pan – both well oiled — may need to adjust baking time. This is a very soft casserole — it is not like a piece of cornbread. The key to getting the casserole to “firm up” is to let it set for 15 – 20 minutes after removing from the oven. It will still taste great if you eat it immediately, it will just sort of fall apart at the edges. I don’t mind, will your family?
Crawfish Cornbread. Allrecipes. (//allrecipes.com/recipe/213573/crawfish-cornbread/)