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Crawfish or Shrimp Maque Choux (Macque choux)

Recipe provided by 1870 Banana Courtyard French Quarter/New Orleans B&B

"Maque choux' (Macque choux pronounced mock shoe) is a Cajun word for a smothered dish made with fresh corn, and other Creole ingredients.

Ingredients:

Crawfish Marinade:
•½ cup dry white wine
•juice of 1/2 lemon
•1/2 teaspoon salt

Saute Base:
•1/3 cup bacon drippings or olive oil
•1 cup bell pepper, chopped
•3 cups chopped onion
•6 cups of fresh white corn, cut off cob.
Note: If white corn is not available substitute yellow corn, but it's not as traditional.
Substitute 1 pound frozen corn if fresh is not available, then you'll need to reduce chicken stock (listed below) from 2 cups to 1 cup.

•½ stick butter
•1 teaspoon salt, or more, to enhance corn flavor
•2 tablespoons of heavy cream
•2 cups chicken stock (homemade or canned. DO NOT use bouillon cubes.)
•1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste).
•2 packages** frozen crawfish tails, thawed or 1 package crawfish and 1
  pound fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined.

SUBSTITUTE: If crawfish not available, use all shrimp.
(**NOTE: crawfish tails are fairly widely available now, in the frozen seafood section, usually in 12 or 16 ounce packages. They are already parboiled, so don't overcook).

•1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
•2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat, Italian parsley. 
If ingredient not available, omit.

Marinate crawfish in the white wine, the juice of lemon, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.

When you cut the kernels off the cob, then scrape the cob, with a knife, to get the liquid. Add the cob liquid. NOTE: If fresh corn isn't in season, substitute frozen corn and add 3 EXTRA tablespoons heavy cream in place of corn cob liquid.

In a large iron skillet, heat the oil or bacon drippings over medium heat.
Sauté the bell peppers, about 3 minutes, then add onions (cover skillet to speed process).

When bell pepper and onion are softened, lower the heat (try not to brown them). Remove and reserve in a bowl.

Put the corn, corn liquid, butter, heavy cream, remaining salt, and chicken stock in the skillet. Mix thoroughly. Cook on medium heat (not too high, as you don't want to curdle the cream), 10 minutes, uncovered.

Add tomatoes, reserved onion and bell pepper, plus salt and pepper and cook over medium heat (not too high) for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Discard Crawfish marinade, and add Tabasco, and chopped flat leaf Italian parsley, crawfish (and shrimp last), then cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently. If mixture seems too dry, add 2-3 tablespoons of water, toward end of cooking period.
NOTE: not in recipe, but if you want base to be thicker/richer, add white roux a little at a time until consistency you desire.

Taste for seasoning. Serve hot in wide soup bowls. This dish is even better when refrigerated for several hours or overnight and reheated before serving.

If you are already an experienced Cajun cook, please excuse the level of detail in this recipe.

Yield: 8 servings.
Prep time: 30 minutes.

 

 1870 Maque Choux