This is my favorite time of the year. It’s spring, the weather is mid-to high 70s with moderate humidity and some of my favorite foods are in season.
It’s the beginning of crawfish boils, outdoor barbecues and festivals! You should know that I love Jazz Fest and that I
only mostly go for the food. I’ve been known to eat two cochon de lait po-boys in one day plus a few more things just for lagniappe (this is what New Orleaneans say for ‘extra’ or “as a bonus’).
Last week, I was out of town in Miami for a conference. While I was flying home my neighbors had a crawfish boil. Lucky for me, these particular neighbors are former New Yorkers who don’t know how to cook southern. The wife, one of my best friends, doesn’t cook seafood or fish -only grilled chicken- so I often make an extra plate of my home cooking and her husband picks it up on the way home. We call this “curbside pick-up”.
The husband, appreciates my cooking so much that after everyone ate crawfish at the party he had two women peel all the leftover crawfish while they were drinking beer and chatting away. The result: two gallon-sized ziplock bags filled with peeled boiled crawfish! I am totally thanking these women remotely. Thank you!
The first thing I made with the crawfish was a big pot of crawfish etouffee using my chicken gumbo recipe. Basically, I make a roux and substitute the meat in the recipe for crawfish. Of course, my neighbor picked up his own container that night.
Knowing I wanted to make these crawfish pies, I made some chicken and sausage jambalaya. I made extra seasoned rice and saved some -about 3 cups- for this recipe. I’ve tried this recipe with my homemade pie crust and store bought. Both came out well… so if you are short on time don’t hesitate to use store bought. I give you permission to do so -not that you need it or anything.
Why would I make these “pies”? Because they are one of my favorite things to eat at Jazz Fest (after the cochon de lait). Their are fried in huge friers and served hot. Mine are baked. If you are really into fried foods you could fry these either in a pan with 2″ of hot oil or in a deep fryer. I personally hate cleaning up my kitchen after the oil splatters everywhere…so I baked them. Naturally, frying them gives them an extra deliciousness… but I’ll let you decide on which route you want to take.
If you are wondering how to shape these, the simple method is to use a round biscuit cutter. If you don’t have a round biscuit cutter, use a glass to cut your dough. If you want to get ultra fancy, you can make them in “half-pies” but I will warn you that they are harder to stuff and seal close –you will see what I mean in some of the pictures below. I like the round/circle shaped ones better. It gives me more room to stuff them and they are much easier and quick to assemble.
What if you absolutely love these but don’t have crawfish where you live? Substitute the crawfish with shrimp. See? Simple. This recipe captures of some of the best New Orleans flavors in a small hand held pie. Watch out, before you know it… all you’ll have left are crumbs.
If you want more of that amazing New Orleans flavor, try my fried catfish recipe next!
New Orleans Jazz Fest Crawfish Pies Recipe
- Yield: 10 pies
- Cuisine: New Orleans
- 3 cups leftover jambalaya rice, or
- 1 box Zatarains jambalaya cooked following box directions
- 2 cups / 1lb cleaned, peeled seasoned crawfish*
- 1 box pie crust dough (with 2 crusts), or
- 1 batch of homemade pie dough
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Either cook your jambalaya and reserve 3 cups of rice for this recipe or cook 1 box of Zatarain’s jambalaya. Do not add meat to it, just cook the rice.
- In a large bowl, mix jambalaya and boiled crawfish. *If you are using frozen crawfish (or shrimp) that has not been boiled or seasoned, saute these first on a pan with 1/2 – 1teaspoon creole seasoning. Once cooked combine with jambalaya rice.
- Make your own pie dough or lay store bought pie dough on a flat, floured surface. If using my homemade recipe, roll out to about 1/4″ thick.
- Using a round biscuit cutter or round glass, cut 16-20 round circles (if using store bought pie crust dough, you should be able to get 10 circles with a biscuit cutter). To reuse the leftover corner pieces, reshape dough into a ball, re-roll and cut.
- Lay 8-10 round circles onto a parchment paper or silicone lined baking pan. Begin filling circles with crawfish rice leaving a 1/4″ space around the edges. Top with another round pie dough circle (while stretching it a bit with your hands).
- Using a fork, clamp the edges all the way around.
- Whisk the egg and milk in a shallow dish. Brush the tops of the pies with egg mixture and bake 12-15minutes until tops are golden brown.