Jyl Benson’s Crawfish Bread

Makes 6 loaves. Recipe is from Jyl Benson, New Orleans, who says, “When my sister came home from Chicago for Easter, I surprised her with a massive spread that included homemade Crawfish Bread. It’s pretty much a dead ringer for the stuff Panaroma Foods sells at the Jazz Fest. In figuring out how to make it, I feel as though I have cracked the nuclear code.”

1/4 cup salted butter

2 cups finely chopped onion

1 cup finely chopped bell pepper

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 pound peeled Louisiana crawfish tails with fat

1/2 cup chopped green onion

2 tablespooons Tabasco

Creole seasoning to taste

3 loaves (148-ounce package) Bridgeford brand bread dough, defrosted

11/2 cups shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese

11/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Melted butter for brushing

1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the bell pepper and garlic and cook until the pepper is tender but the garlic is not brown, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the crawfish, green onion, hot sauce and Creole seasoning. Mix well. Cook for 5 minutes to marry the flavors. Cover and set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

4. Roll each loaf of bread dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 20-inch-by-5-inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise. Spoon about 1/2 cup of crawfish mixture into center of each piece and top with 1/4 cup of each type of cheese. Fold dough over and pinch edges to seal, fully enclosing filing. Repeat with remaining dough and crawfish mixture.

5. Place the loaves on a greased baking sheet, brush with melted butter and cook until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve warm.

Note: Loaves may be cooked halfway, cooled and frozen. Bring to room temperature, unwrap and complete cooking to serve.