Thursday, March 13, 2014

Shrimp Creole

Back in August of 2000, I visited New Orleans, Louisiana for the first time. Man was it hot! It was 97° in the shade with 90% humidity. All we could do to keep cool was drink Hurricanes and hide in the shade. I ate at many restaurants, both large and small, but one of my favorites was The Gumbo Shop located in the heart of the French Quarter. At the time, I wasn't familiar with Cajun or Creole cooking but quickly fell in love. It was unlike anything I had had before (being from the Midwest) and I've been replicating many of those recipes ever since. One of my favorites is a Cajun classic and I highly recommend it if you've never tried food from New Orleans. Now go grab yourself a Blackened Voodoo beer and try this out. Like they say in 'Nawlins, laissez les bons temps rouler!

Shrimp Creole
by Holly K

Inspired by my visit to The Gumbo Shop in New Orleans, Louisiana.

5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and cleaned
2 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning or your favorite Cajun seasoning (see note below)
1 cup hot water
1 lemon, sliced and seeded (more for garnish)
2 fresh bay leaves
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 celery ribs, sliced
3 scallions, sliced (more for garnish)
1 bell pepper, chopped (I prefer orange or red, original recipes call for green)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 cups cooked white rice
Crusty french bread

In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour. Continue to cook the roux until slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine raw shrimp and Cajun Seasoning. When roux is browned, slowly add hot water. Whisk until blended. Add all remaining ingredients except the rice and bread. Stir well. Cover and reduce to medium-low heat, cooking until shrimp is pink and tender about 20-25 minutes. Discard bay leaves and lemons before serving over the rice with bread on the side. Garnish with additional lemon slices and chopped scallions.

One of my favorite Cajun Seasonings: Emeril's Bayou Blast

2 1/2 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon cayenne powder
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon dried thyme

Mix all of the above ingredients.

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