PaPa Ray’s and Uncle Howard’s: World Famous Crawfish Maque Choux Recipe
This recipe has been one of the most asked for dishes at Crew Jamais d’ la Vie’s tailgating spot over the years. “…they like the pork, they dig the brisket, and savor the smothered potatoes…but they all LOVE de Maque Choux!” Here is a little history about where I learned how to cook Maque Choux.
I was working as Bubba #65 at the Festival International as “The Official Pot Washer”. My father Ray (Bubba #1) asked if I could go over and help Uncle Howard with something. I had no idea how this one decision would alter my life forever. Howard Bernard was in charge of cooking the Maque Choux. But this was no ordinary pot of Maque Choux…the pot was 5’ wide and 2’ deep…we called it the “Cajun Wok”…others would have called it a bath tub and been correct.
Howard took me under his wing that day and showed me “exactly” how he cooked the Maque Choux. I did exactly as I was told. And then it happened! Uncle Howard looked me dead in the eye and with a dead serious tone said “stir the pot with this paddle…but don’t work the corn too hard, you’ll bruise it. Don’t let it stick. And above all, love the food. Treat her like a lady”. I looked over at my father, and he acknowledged Howard’s commands with a grin and a nod. This was one of the biggest moments of my life. I had graduated from “Pot Washer” to “The Maque Choux Stirrer”. I had arrived!
The recipe below is the very same one that we have given out over the last 25 years. Everyone who cooks this dish is met with the same response we get at Cajun Field “…what is that, and can you tell me how to cook it! This is Awesome!” The fact is that it is quite simple to do and extremely versatile. Try it with Crabmeat or Shrimp or Duck or Lobster. But at the tailgating spot of “Crew Jamais d’ la Vie…we serve it one way…and you are just going to have to stop by and see for yourself which way that is!
~Crawfish Maque Choux~
Serves 10-12 People (Sometimes)
- ¼ Cup of Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil
- 9 Cans of Whole Kernel Corn, drained
- 3 Cans of Cream Style Corn
- 2 Large Yellow Onions, chopped
- 2 Bell Peppers (green, red, orange or yellow) Adds Color, chopped
- 6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- 2 lbs. Of Crawfish Tails (Cajun Country Raised)
- 2 lbs. Of Smoked Tasso
- 1 Quart of Heavy Whipping Cream
Place a large pot (we like cast iron) on the stove and set the burner to high. Once hot, add oil and Whole Kernel Corn. Stir frequently to prevent corn from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Not too hard…you don’t want to bruise the corn. Water will emit from the corn but will eventually cook out as steam. Once this has occurred, the corn will begin to “fry” in the pot. Keep stirring. You will start to notice the sugar cooking out of the corn and sticking to the bottom of the pot and the tip of your spoon. Don’t freak out. You don’t have to worry about “scraping” the “cddrude”. It will become part of the dish later.
When the corn takes on a “golden” color, add onions, bell pepper, garlic and tasso. Keep fire on high and keep stirring. When onion and bell pepper soften, add Cream Style Corn and Heavy Whipping Cream. Bring to a rolling boil and then lower the fire to a bubbling simmer. This is where the “cddrude” will become a vital part of the dish as it breaks downs in the hot liquid. Leave the lid off the pot…the whipping cream will steam out and thicken. Stir occasionally.
Season to taste at this point. We like Bad Byron’s Butt Rub. Less salt, more herbs! Once the cream has thickened to a “pretty tic” consistency, add the Crawfish tails, stir in and cover. Turn off the burner and let sit. And that’s it! You have just been entrusted with the “World Famous…Papa Ray & Uncle Howard’s Maque Choux” Recipe. The only obligation you have now is to pass this secret onto whom ever asks for it. And don’t forget…Cooking Cajun Style is easy: Treat the Dish like a lady…take your time, be gentle, give it due attention, and love it passionately and it will always turn out Great!