o John's Bulk Crawfish Bisque

John's Bulk Crawfish Bisque
PREP TIME: 2 Hours

Crawfish bisque is a tradition in south Louisiana and is normally served as a main dish on Easter Sunday. I consider this dish a family event because it is best made when a minimum of four can get together to stuff the heads and make the stew. This is also a great batch-size recipe for the freezer.


  • 9 pounds cleaned crawfish tails
  • 200 cleaned crawfish heads
  • 2 jumbo onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large bell peppers, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/2 bunch celery, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 bunches fresh green onions
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup thyme leaves, chopped
  • 22 ounces seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Zatarain's Creole seasoning to taste

Here in Cajun country you may purchase the heads of the crawfish fully cleaned, frozen and ready for stuffing. If you are using cleaned crawfish heads, rinse them thoroughly and place them in a bowl of extremely hot water for 30 minutes. This will make the heads pliable and ready for filling. If they are not available in your area, you may simply roll the stuffing into small meatballs and add to the sauce later. Using a home-style meat grinder, grind 5 pounds of crawfish tails alternating with the onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, parsley and green onions. It is important to grind these in an alternating fashion to incorporate the seasonings and tail meat completely. Place the ground ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add eggs, basil, thyme and Italian breadcrumbs. Season to taste using salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Here, I suggest you form a small patty of stuffing and pan-fry to check for seasonings and flavor. Adjust seasonings if necessary. I suggest using a pastry bag and fill each head to its maximum. If a pastry bag is unavailable, open the heads as wide as possible, without breaking, and hand stuff. Place the stuffed heads on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Set aside.


  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 cups onions, diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 2 cups bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 5 quarts water
  • 1 cup green onions, sliced
  • 3/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup thyme leaves, chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Zatarain's Creole seasoning to taste

In a 3-gallon Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add flour and, using a wire whisk, stir until a dark brown roux is achieved. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables are wilted. Add tomato sauce and remaining 4 pounds of crawfish tails. Cook 10-15 minutes and add water, 1 quart at a time, blending well into the mixture. Continue to add liquid until stew-like consistency is achieved. Add green onions, parsley, basil and thyme. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes, adding additional liquid as necessary to retain consistency. Season to taste using salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Add cooked, stuffed heads to the stew, stirring gently into the gravy. Continue to simmer for 30 additional minutes. During this process, stuffing from the heads will settle to the bottom of the pot, making scorching a high possibility. You must stir fairly often at this point and keep the stew on a low simmer to prevent scorching. Adjust seasonings if necessary. When ready to serve, place 8-10 stuffed heads along with ample gravy over steamed white rice.


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