Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat; add the butter, onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Deglaze the pan by adding the Chardonnay and making sure to scrape all the delicious bits that may have started to stick from the bottom. Juice the lemon through your fingers into the saute pan, tossing any seeds, then throw the lemon rinds in the pan as well. Simmer this mixture until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in thyme, paprika and cayenne, followed by the chicken stock, then bring everything to a rolling boil. Add the heavy cream and bring back to a boil. Upon reaching a second boil, immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove and toss the lemons. Season your creamy base with salt and pepper. To thicken the base into Pontchartrain sauce, you will need to combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water into a thin paste, or slurry, in a bowl, and slowly whisk into your simmering base. Continue to make and add slurry at the same 1-to-2 ratio as needed and add a little at a time until sauce starts to show gentle trails behind the whisk, much like a thin gravy. Once adequately thickened, add the crawfish tail meat to the sauce and simmer for another couple minutes to cook out the raw cornstarch flavor and heat the crawfish through.
And now you have Pontchartrain sauce! At this point it can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.
To prepare for serving, add the Pontchartrain sauce to a saute pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the raw shrimp to the sauce and simmer until the shrimp have become opaque and begun to curl, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Place a pile of rice on each of four plates, then top each with 4 cooked shrimp and spoon the Pontchartrain sauce over everything.
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This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Flying Mango, Des Moines, IA
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