Cajun and Creole Cuisine from the steamy streets of New Orleans to the back bayous of Louisiana is a unique mélange of cultures, frugality and inventions of necessity that has brought us Jambalaya, Gumbo, Etouffée, Dirty Rice, Beignets and Andouille sausage. There is another contribution that although not as well-known but for me personally defines the uniqueness of Cajun and Creole cooking is Boudin Sausage.
It is not that Boudin is a great mystery, but in the pantheon of familiar recipes originating from Louisiana, it is not as easily found in restaurants or grocery stores outside of the Gulf Coast. Boudin can be best described as the combination of ground pork meat, hearts and liver added to dirty rice, stuffed into pork casings and then steamed or simmered. For my first attempt at making Boudin, instead of using pork, I went with the more delicate version using crawfish tails.
2 Pounds of coarsely chopped Peeled Crawfish Tails (Can typically be found in the frozen section of the grocery store and either packaged in the U.S.A. or from China)
- 3 Cup of Cooked Rice
- 1 Cup of chopped White / Yellow Onions
- 1 Cup of chopped Green Onions
- ¼ Cup of chopped fresh Italian Parsley
- ¼ Cup of Vegetable Oil
- 2 Teaspoons of Salt
- 1 ½ Teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
- ¼ Teaspoon of minced Garlic
- Prepared hog casings
- As you are cooking the rice, all of the other steps to make Crawfish Boudin can be performed.
- Add all of the seasonings to the bowl of coarsely chopped Crawfish Tails and mix well.
- In a deep skillet heat the oil and sauté the Onions, Green Onions, Garlic and Parsley on medium heat until translucent (about five minutes).
- Add the seasoned crawfish tails to the deep skillet and cook on medium heat for an additional twenty minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from the mixture from the heat and folding in the three cups of hot cooked rice.
- To stuff the casings, follow the same process that you would use to make any other type of sausage with your sausage stuffer. It is best to stuff the casings with the Crawfish Boudin mixture while it is still hot. A four inch link is a good length to make for Boudin.
Crawfish Boudin is best prepared by being stuffed into pork casings for I believe that the casings impart a subtle yet critical flavor to the sausage. If you do not have a sausage stuffer or just want to skip the step of stuffing the casings, you can make Crawfish Boudin Balls without the casings. Roll the Crawfish Boudin mixture into balls, coat with bread crumbs (optional) and then lightly fry for a perfect snack or side dish.
When preparing the Crawfish Boudin for a meal, I recommend that you heat the sausage with steam. I place sausage in a steamer and over medium heat steam them for about 15 – 20 minutes. On occasion you will have a link split. This is a good indication that the boudin has been thoroughly heated. Boudin is best enjoyed removed from the casing and served on saltine crackers with a few drops of hot sauce. I have eaten my fair share of Boudin, both traditional (with pork) and shellfish (crawfish or shrimp) and without hesitation, the Crawfish Boudin made at home is far better than anything I have eaten and that includes some of the better known restaurants in New Orleans.
If you are not planning to eat the Crawfish Boudin the day that you made the sausage you can either keep it wrapped in the refrigerator for a few days or wrap it tightly in saran wrap, and then aluminum foil and it will be good in the freezer for many months. Just defrost the boudin prior to reheating with steam.
Recipe adapted from Prudhomme’s Crawfish Boudin Recipe.