Springtime in Louisiana means that it’s time for crawfish. These crustaceans live in the swamps and in the springtime they grow and come out of their burrows. The tails, when peeled, are large enough to eat for a feast. A Louisiana delicacy. A spring crawfish boil is a ritual here in South Louisiana and the traditional way to eat crawfish.
There are plenty of other ways to prepare the peeled tails and everyone has a favorite recipe. Marie made Crawfish Tarts for our “Taste of Louisiana” party at the dulcimer fête. And she ace’d it with this recipe. The individual tarts had a very pleasing combination of flavors in a flaky crust Everyone wanted the recipe.Marie’s Crawfish Tarts are crawfish tails which are added to a generous amount of sauteed onion and bell pepper. In traditional Louisiana style, the recipe calls for a stick of butter, but a person could use less–substituting margarine if desired. Let the finely chopped onion and bell pepper cook down until soft and mushy – you don’t need whole pieces of these vegetables or a raw taste. These add a nice flavor to the crawfish filling when well cooked.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is a can of shrimp or cream of mushroom soup. Don’t omit the soup; it really adds flavor and thickening. Evaporated milk and cornstarch also add thickening. (I didn’t have evaporated milk and used whole milk for this recipe trial–the tarts turned out fine.)
For seasonings, Marie used granulated garlic powder and onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Go gently, use only 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of each of these as a little goes a long way. Powdered garlic and onion are quite intense. The salt can really be omitted entirely. This recipe isn’t “hot” as a person might think of Cajun recipes, but not every recipe needs to be “hot.” This one highlights the flavor of the crawfish.
A note about purchasing crawfish tails. If you read carefully, this package says, “Product of U.S.A.” Chinese crawfish are frequently found in the frozen section of grocery stores–even with traditional Cajun company labels. But the taste is entirely different–I don’t recommend using Chinese crawfish.
After adding the crawfish, soup, milk, cornstarch and seasonings, the filling is simmered on the stove until the crawfish tails are cooked through.
These are portioned into individual tart shells and baked. This makes about 18 to 20 crawfish tarts.
Marie made about 125 of the tarts during February and early March and froze them. Then she re-heated the tarts at the party. We almost had a “crisis” as the pilot light went out in one of the ovens; but I believe that it was fixed and no guest knew what we were doing in the kitchen (panicking). Everything turned out well.Here is Marie taking a breathe and getting ready to pass out the supper meal boxes. Her job never stopped!
And this recipe is a “keeper.” Freeze what you don’t use; but I bet you will eat all of them!
Marie's Crawfish Tarts
- 20 individual pie tart shells, defrosted
- 1 to 1-1/2 lb crawfish tails, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick butter
- bunch chopped green onions
- 1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 to 1-1/2 chopped onion
- 1 can shrimp or cream of mushroom soup
- 1 small can evaporated milk
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste
Method and Steps:
- Saute onion and bell pepper in butter. (Editor cooked these for 15 – 30 minutes on medium to low heat.)
- Add soup.
- Mix cornstarch with evaporated milk and add to mixture.
- Add crawfish and green onions.
- Then add seasonings. (Suggest 1/4 tsp salt ((optional)), 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp onion powder.)
- Saute for about 15 minutes until crawfish is done.
- Put into individual small pie shells. Makes about 18 – 20 pies.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
(Marie says, “I freeze mine and just pop frozen pies into oven.”)