Place a large pan of salted water over a high heat and bring to a rapidly rolling boil. Rinse the live crayfish under plenty of running water, drain and plunge into the boiling water, (depending on the size of your crayfish 5-8 minutes).
Drain the crayfish, plunge into cold water, then onto a clean towel, leaving to cool. Remove the tail & claw meat, setting aside.
To make the stock for the chowder, in a large pan add all the shells, heads and claws and smash up with a heavy rolling pin. Add a splash of olive oil, chopped onion, celery, carrot, thyme leaves and season well. Cook over a moderate heat to sauté the veg and release all the beautiful flavour of the crayfish shells and heads for about 10 minutes.
To the base add star anise, black peppercorns, crushed garlic, ripped bay and a glass or two of dry white wine. Cook out the wine, cover with water, add dill and parsley including the stalks and simmer for an hour or two. Drain the stock through a fine sieve into a large pan.
To the stock add finely diced onion, cubed potato and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the potato is tender and the chowder has thickened. Add cream and adjust seasoning.
In a large frying pan add knob of butter & chopped parsley, add the crayfish meat, drizzle with whiskey and flambé .
Serve into warmed bowls, a spoonful of crayfish and ladle over the thick creamy chowder. Scatter with fresh chopped parsley and devour with fresh hunks of warm bread.... Totally comforting on a chilly autumnal evening........