Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shrimp Creole

I always have shrimp in the freezer. It is by far one of the most versatile ingredients that doesn't require any planning. Just thaw them in cold water for 15 minutes and you're set. I usually plan our meals ahead for the week but of course, sometimes life gets in the way of plans and that is where frozen shrimp are a lifesaver. One of the easiest shrimp recipes, and a new personal favorite of mine is Shrimp Creole. While this recipe may appear to have a lot of ingredients, it's a little deceptive because the majority of the ingredients are seasonings. I love this recipe for those crazy nights when you have hungry bellies, very little time and no idea what to make.

RECIPE courtesy of Nola Cuisine:
2 lbs. Peeled and Deveined Shrimp, save shells to make Shrimp Stock (I make a big batch of stock and freeze it in small portions.) Alternately, you can use chicken stock or water.
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Ribs Celery, finely chopped
1 small Green Pepper, finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2-1/2 Cups Very Ripe Fresh Tomatoes, Diced (I use diced canned tomatoes)
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Cups Shrimp Stock (Or chicken stock or water)
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
2 Bay leaves
Cayenne to taste
Kosher Salt to taste
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp White Pepper
1 bunch Fresh Thyme
2 Tbsp Tabasco
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Green Onions, green tops thinly sliced, white part sliced into 1/4″ thickness
1/8 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
1 Recipe creole boiled rice

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan with the vegetable oil over medium high heat. When the butter begins to froth add 1/2 cup of the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown. Add the remaining onions, celery, and bell pepper, reduce the heat to medium and season with 1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning and a healthy pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables until soft.

Add the tomato paste mixing well, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown, then add the fresh tomatoes and another healthy pinch of Kosher salt, this will help the tomatoes break down. Stir well.

When the tomatoes start to break down into liquid add the white wine, and turn the heat to high until most of the alcohol burns off. Add the Shrimp Stock, remaining Creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne (to taste), and Thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

(If necessary at this point thicken the sauce with 1 Tbsp Cornstarch/ 2Tbsp water. Bring to a boil to maximize the thickening power of the cornstarch.)

Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, and season to taste with Kosher salt. Last chance to re-season your sauce, remember that good cooking is all about proper seasoning. Make your Boiled Rice, and season your shrimp with 1 Tbsp Kosher salt and a pinch of Cayenne.


Greg Turner said...

This is such a great idea, to have a versatile ingredient like shrimp always on hand. The recipe sounds wonderful, too (and thank you for mentioning seasoning! So many people forget).

How long will shrimp keep in the freezer?

Lo said...

I've been in the mood for a bit of cajun/creole food lately... and this looks like it would really fit the bill.

Peter M said...

I agree, shrimp is a great "go-to" ingredient. The Creole would warm me so...good spicy dish.

~Madeline~ said...

Thanks Greg! I thought I should mention the seasonings because that list looks a little overwhelming :) From what I can gather, fresh frozen shrimp will last about 3 months, although it never lasts that long in my house! Commercially frozen shrimp will last a lot longer though, because it has been flash frozen.

Yes, go for it Lo! This dish will surely satisfy your creole cravings :)

Hi Peter, it really does warm your belly. Great winter dish.

Dragon said...

These little beauties look amazing!

Kevin said...

That shrimp looks tasty! I have been wanting to try some creole cooking.

~Madeline~ said...

Thanks Dragon and Kevin! This recipe is a good start, it's just so easy.

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