Lenten recipes warm body and soul

Lenten recipes were a seasonal staple at The Monitor long before Keeping the Feast joined its pages seven years ago and settled late last year into the Web Site as a blog.

One of the most popular features, the Lenten recipe section was clipped by cooks around the diocese and beyond. When venturing out to parish events, in fact, I got more feedback about “the recipes” than anything else I wrote.

With the advent of the diocesan web site, the entire “cook book” of Lenten recipes  began appearing there each year, drawing visitors from around the country. You can find that archival  cook book at www.dioceseoftrenton.org/diocese/lent_recipes.asp

Beginning today, Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, be sure to check out Keeping the Feast for the 2010 series of Lenten recipes.

Since we celebrated Fat Tuesday with a tempting recipe from Marcelle Bienvenu, the Queen of Cajun cooking, it seemed like a nice idea to ease into Lent with a dish she calls  “Crawfish Stew-Fay” – her signature version of the Cajun favorite etoufee.

 In these northern climes, she says it’s perfectly permissible to substitute shrimp for the hard to come by and very expensive crawfish.

When we talked on the telephone Feb. 15, Marcelle said her kettle of this savory concoction was already waiting in the fridge. As I write tonight, from this snow crested Northern plain, it’s a pleasure to imagine her at table with family and friends down in Acadia welcoming in the spiritual and culinary blessings of Lent.

Marcelle Bienvenu’s Stew-Fay

Ingredients: 2 pounds large cleaned shrimp; 8 tablespoons butter; 2 onions, coarsely chopped; 1 large sweet green pepper coarsely chopped; 1 stalk celery, finely chopped; 1 tablespoon cornstarch; 1 cup water; 1/3 cup finely chopped green onions; 1/4 cup finely chopped parsely; salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

Directions: In a heavy pot, slowly melt the butter. Add the onions, sweet green pepper and celery; cook until transparent. Add the shrimp and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until they begin to throw off a little liquid. Stir occasionally. Dissolve the cornstarch in the cup of water, add the mixture to the shrimp (or crawfish) and simmer for 20 minutes or until the gravy thickens a bit. Add the salt and cayenne pepper. Don’t be stingy with the spices. Stew-fay should have a little bite to it. Serve immediately over steamed rice. Garnish with a sprinkling of green onions and parsley.


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