Makes 4 to 6 servings
Étouffée is the name given to dishes like this one that are gently cooked in a covered pot. Crawfish, or crayfish, are sold live or as cooked meat. If you buy crawfish meat, look for the words fat-on. Crawfish fat is an integral part of a good étouffée.
- Heat the bacon fat or oil in a casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat until it shimmers.
- Add the onion to the tagine or casserole and sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the celery, bell pepper, and garlic; cover the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the paprika, white and black pepper, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sauté, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 1 minute.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and pasty, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and stir well to work out any lumps. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the crayfish tails and their fat. Cover the pot and cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, until the crayfish is cooked through and very hot, 8 to 10 minutes. Add a little more broth as needed throughout the cooking time if the étouffée is getting too thick. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
- Add the butter, scallions, basil, and parsley and stir to combine. Serve the étouffée in heated bowls.