Crawfish Andouille Dressing

Each year we celebrate the holidays with classic Louisiana side dishes.  Skip, my husband, has perfected quite a few of these classics, and receives many requests for crawfish andouille dressing.  His recipe combines crawfish with spicy andouille and cornbread.  It can be prepared a day ahead and baked the following day.  It is extremely moist, making it a freezer-friendly dish.  We've often traveled to Texas to visit my family with storage bags full of frozen dressing.  We've perfected the 'tote and travel Thanksgiving' to fulfill the many requests for this delicious side-dish.  We simply thaw the dressing and transfer to a baking dish.  Add a few splashes of broth, top with a few pats of butter and bake until golden brown. I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as my family has enjoyed it over the years. 

 Chop half of the andouille sausage into bite size pieces, and finely chop the remaining half of the sausage for added texture.  Using a food processor makes it easy to finely chop multiple batches of andouille sausage. We have to make multiple batches to fill all the requests for this recipe.

Easily drain the thawed bags of crawfish tails by snipping a corner of the bag, and squeeze as much of the liquid as possible.

CRAWFISH ANDOUILLE CORNBREAD DRESSING

Servings: 10-12

CORNBREAD

2 cups cornmeal

2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 Tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 eggs

2 ½ cups milk

½ cup unsalted butter, melted (plus extra for buttering baking dish)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.  Whisk in eggs, milk and butter until a thick batter forms. 

3. Pour batter into prepared baking dish, and bake until very firm in the center, 30-35 minutes. 

MAKE AHEAD: Cornbread can be baked and completely cooled.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, store in a resealable bag and freeze for up to 1 month.  Thaw cornbread overnight in refrigerator.  Crumble 7-8 cups to be used in the dressing.

DRESSING

1 lb. andouille sausage

½ cup butter

1 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup bell peppers, diced (any combination of red, yellow or green)

2 bay leaves

1 Tablespoons Italian herbs

1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 ½ teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning

1 lb. crawfish tails, thawed and well drained

1 1/2 cups green onions, chopped

3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 cups low sodium chicken stock

7-8 cups crumbled cornbread

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter a 9x13-inch glass oven-safe dish and set aside. 

2. Cut half of the andouille into bite size pieces.  Finely chop the remaining half of the andouille sausage.  Set aside

3. In a large skillet or wide bottom pot, melt the butter and sauté the onions, celery and bell peppers until the onions are translucent, 4-5 minutes.  Add andouille sausage and sauté until heated and fat is rendered, 4-5 minutes. Add bay leaves, Italian herbs, poultry seasoning, black pepper, salt, and Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning and stir until combined.

4. Add the crawfish tails to the skillet and sauté until heated through.  Add green onions, parsley, and chicken stock and stir to combine.  Add the crumbled cornbread in batches allowing the bread to soak up the stock.  

5. Spoon the dressing into the prepared dish, and bake in the preheated oven until bubbly along the edges, 30-40 minutes.  

6. Place under the broiler until the top is golden brown, about 1 minute.  Serve warm.

DO AHEAD: The dressing can be baked, skip the broiling step and completely cool.  Divide dressing between two 1-gallon size re-sealable storage bags.  Place flat and store in freezer up to 1 month.

Re-Heating Notes for Crawfish Andouille Cornbread Dressing

Thaw overnight in refrigerator (at least 12 hours).  Spoon dressing into a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish.  Place 3 Tablespoons butter, cut into thin slices, on top of the dressing. Bake at 350°F, uncovered, until bubbly along the edges, 30-35 minutes.  Place under a broiler until the top is golden brown, about 1 minute. Serve warm.