What to Add to Your Louisiana Crawfish Boil: How About Artichokes and Green Beans?
When most people think of a crawfish boil, they think of crawfish, potatoes, and corn. Sometimes sausage, but given how many of us celebrate Lent, it's not always on the menu at a Friday night gathering.
There are other ingredients, like your boil and spices. Lemons and onions, too. In more recent years, lemons have been joined by oranges for a sweeter tanginess that actually amplifies the spice. But, there is apparently a long list of ingredients that you may not find in your standard family boil that a lot of Louisiana residents actually endorse.
There are several websites with crawfish boil recipes that include ingredients you might not expect to find, but that they swear by. And, given how much we love food in Louisiana, it's understandable: Let's add all sorts of stuff during or after the crawfish boil and get those spices in them.
Frankly, it's just a wonderful philosophy to have.
I readily admit that this one took me by surprise. I had not even considered this strange vegetable as something you could just toss in whole while the boil is going on, but apparently, it's enough of a thing that there are a ton of recipes on the Internet that explain what you need to do.
Simply put: Toss the whole thing in and let it cook for about 30-45 minutes, depending on how hot you're running that boil. You'll know it's done when one of the leaves can be easily pulled from the center. You can eat those leaves as is or use whatever dip you've got for your crawfish.
This is one I'm not finding many places, but both NOLA.com and Crawfishcafe.com make the argument for this strong, earthy vegetable being a part of your mudbug meal.
It's important to note, however, beets will absolutely turn any liquid (and anything in that liquid) red or even purple, so cook them after everything else is done. That said, it takes a while to cook them, so don't expect them right away. It could take as long as an hour to get them fork-tender.
Chicken meat - white or dark - is fairly neutral and can really soak up the flavors of whatever you've got going in your crawfish boil. You could toss in strips and breasts, or just throw a whole fryer chicken right into the pot. The results are going to be great.
It's another protein you can enjoy, like sausage. But, unlike the smoked, spicy sausage you may toss into the pot, chicken is a blank canvas when it comes to cooking. That's what makes it such a great addition, according to the fans who swear by it.
Fresh green beans take absolutely no time to cook at all, and they are easy to throw in with your crawfish. They will also absorb a lot of flavor and make for a great side or snack while you wait for the actual crawfish to finish up.
Bonus: You can refrigerate them and add them to your Bloody Mary at brunch the next day, because it's always important to add a serving of vegetables to your meals.
Sure, putting it in a crawfish boil isn't the craziest thing people in Lafayette could do with a pineapple, but it's still not a traditional ingredient. However, like oranges, it adds both a tanginess and a sweetness to the mix that won't overpower the spices - it will elevate them.
One recipe online said to peel the pineapple, leave the leaves on top, and then drop it whole into the boil for 10 minutes. When you take it out, remove the cap and slice.
What Do You Boil?
There are tons of other items - from mushrooms to peppers - that people like to experiment with. Check out our Facebook Page and let us know what ingredients you like to boil with your crawfish.
'Tis the season.