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Crawfish étouffée: a luscious tomato based sauce with history

Crawfish étouffée served with rice and cornbread, recipe below

Crawfish étouffée is another dish with lots of sauce and history. The dish shows the influence of Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans on new world cookery and it’s one of the first simple but tasty soul food dishes in Louisiana cuisine. The French settlers from Vendée, Poitou, and Brittany who eventually became known as Acadians and Cajuns brought with them the foodways of commoners in France who developed sauces intended to make simple dishes more appetizing and stretched their nutritional and filling values. In colonial Louisiana Africans shared the tradition of one-pot-meals with poor whites that lived among and around them. Africans also shared the ubiquitous habit of eating rice with most meals. Native American added the use of tomatoes in Crawfish étouffée; tomatoes are indigenous to the Americas. The word étouffée comes from the French word “to smother” and it means a luscious tomato based sauce. Here is link to wonderful crawfish étouffée like the delicious one I ate pictured above in New Orleans.

Crawfish étouffée recipe: http://www.louisianafishfry.com/recipes.php?action=submit&id=34

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