Even on the road, camp food is as good as you want it to be. With Barb helping out her sisters this week I'm left to prepare my own cuisine. This will be quite wide ranging as it usually is; from blackened rockfish to sushi to Cajun. Although the weather this time of year can be a bit unpredictable, why should the menu? My latest example of this is Creole Crawfish Tasso Chowder. The day I made this was a cold, rainy November day which made this perfect compliment to flakey biscuits and a puppy's cold nose.
One of our most valuable culinary tools on the road is our mini 2 quart crock pot. As long as you are hooked up to shore power this creates some very tasty meals. I adapted a recipe I found on the NOLA restaurants recipe website, but you can prepare it in a stockpot on the stove if you like instead. Technically this is a Creole recipe, but like any true chowder it has it's share of corn and taters. I like Yukon Golds. It also adds carrots to the bell pepper/celery/onion mix, much like a true mirepoix.
It is always easy to find crawfish on the road. Wal Mart nearly always carries them in the frozen fish section. Although not fresh, they are already peeled, ready to use, and not prohibitively expensive.
I am fortunate to still have some Tasso from our last trip that will work very well in this dish. Outside of SE Texas or Louisiana this might be difficult to find. For the bacon I love to use Wright's Brand Applewood Smoked, delicious. I also like to buy my bacon at Wal Mart as Wright's Bacon is usually about 40% higher elsewhere. The rest of the ingredients are pretty much in daily use and not hard to find. I use an instant roux, but homemade is always the best if you know how to make it. Remember, Creole cooking makes roux with fat drippings and cream, not flour. Of course I had to scale down the ingredient portions to fit our pot.
The best part about my adaptation of this recipe is the crockpot does most of the cooking.....I don't have to pre-parboil the taters; just dice them about 1/2". I do lightly saute the bacon, veggees, garlic, and Tasso (about 2 minutes). I use a separate pan; adding the stock, roux and bring to a boil for a minute; just to begin thickening. Don't overdo it as it should go into the pot a bit soupy. It'll help meld all the flavors as well as thicken on it's own. The magic of the crockpot.
Add everything (except the crawfish) to the pot, it'll do the rest. Heat on low for about 4 hours. I DO NOT, however, add the crawfish till the last 30 minutes. When finished serve with garlic baguette or cornbread on the side. The LSU game is optional.
"Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all"
Harriet Van Horne
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