I love to get the absolute most use and flavor out of an ingredient as I can. So, when we had a crawfish boil the other day, I took the shells, claws, tails and heads that would have otherwise been discarded, and made a beautiful Crawfish Stock. The stock can be used to make a flavorful soup, bisque, veloute or any other seafood stock based dish like seafood risotto. For this recipe, take boiled crawfish or shrimp shells, tails, claws and heads and rinse to remove the seafood boil seasoning. The stock should taste like shellfish, not the boil seasoning.
Crawfish Stock Recipe
2-3 quarts crawfish or shrimp shells
Cold water, just enough to cover shells
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, quartered
1 head of garlic, separated, peeled & slightly smashed
1 lemon quartered
2 tablespoons butter
Bouquet Garni (spice mixture for stock):
1 small bunch parsley with stems
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon basil (or 10-12 fresh leaves)
1/2 teaspoon oregano (or 4-5 3 inch stems fresh)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
6 black peppercorns
Place bouquet ingredients into a cheesecloth and securely tie with kitchen twine – if you don’t have cheesecloth, just add all of the ingredients to the pot, making sure to strain well at the end.
Directions for stock:
Rinse and drain the crawfish or shrimp completely.
Put the shells into a large heavy bottomed stock pot and heat them with 2 tablespoons butter to help release the flavor – about 6-10 minutes. Stir often to distribute help distribute the heat.
Combine all of the remaining ingredients with the shells making sure you have enough water to cover, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour.
Remove from heat and strain stock through a cheesecloth or sieve.
Discard shells, vegetables, and Bouquet Garni.
Let the stock cool completely and place into jars or containers and refrigerate. Use within 3 days or freeze.