Thursday, January 18, 2007

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

Adapted from The New Orleans Cookbook by Richard and Rima Collins

Serves 4, occasionally with leftovers, which I have been known to eat for breakfast.

This is one of my favorite recipes. In fact, it’s my birthday dinner. Don’t be alarmed by the long list of ingredients. In spite of that and the fact that it's time consuming, it's really easy, especially if you are organized. Because most of the work can be done ahead, it's a good dish for company. However, I do caution you to read the recipe in its entirety before you start to make it for the first time. 

Crabmeat Mandeville is a good starter with this dish, and Baked Banana Splits in Orange Butterscotch is a good dessert.

Please read the notes.


I make this in a heavy 5-quart stainless-steel copper pot. If you have a 4-quart enamel Dutch oven, now is the time to use it. You can make the roux in a cast iron skillet and brown the vegetables from Bowl 1 in it, but then switch to at least a 4-quart stainless steel or enamel-lined pot because the sauce contains tomatoes, which react with cast iron.


Count on the roux taking about 20 minutes of continuous stirring with a flat wooden spatula. The first time, you might want to do it even more slowly at a low, rather than medium-low, heat until you get the hang of it because if the roux burns, meaning you have little black specks in it, you need to throw it out and start over.

My friend Peggy Jones is from Charleston, and she never deveins her shrimp so I don’t either.  

Chopped onions and chopped green pepper doesn’t mean large chunks; it just means larger than minced.

You can use 3 pounds of shrimp without increasing the sauce. 

This will seem like a long time to cook the shrimp, but following these instructions makes a big difference in how the sauce tastes, so I encourage you to follow them.

I keep cayenne and chili powder in the refrigerator.


For the Roux:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup vegetable oil (I use peanut.)

Mise en Place

Bowl 1:
1-¾ cup thinly sliced scallions
1 stalk chopped celery (at least 1/3 cup)
1 medium sized onion chopped

1 green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons finely minced parsley

Bowl 2:
¼ teaspoon mace
¼ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 whole bay leaves
6 whole allspice
2 whole cloves

1 tablespoon minced chives
2 teaspoons salt (I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.)
The original recipe calls for ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; I use a little less.

The original recipe calls for ½ teaspoon cayenne; I use ¼ teaspoon.
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

For the pot:
4 teaspoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons red wine
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 14.5 ounce can whole tomatoes (I use Italian whole peeled tomatoes, usually San Marzano because that what I always have on hand.)
2 cups water
2 pounds large shrimp peeled (I don't devein them.)


To make the roux, put ½ cup all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup vegetable oil in a pot. 

Turn the heat on to medium-low, and cook stirring constantly until the roux you are making turns the color of rich peanut butter. Once the roux is made, remove the pot from the heat, and add the contents of Bowl 1 (scallions, celery, onion, green pepper, garlic, and parsley). Mix well with the roux, and return the pot to the burner. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring the whole time, until the mixture starts to sort of brown. It will have a very distinct - and good - smell, and if you make this often, you will come to recognize it.


(Either continue or move the contents out of a cast iron skillet if you have used one.)

Next, add the tomato sauce and tomatoes. Stir, breaking the whole tomatoes up with your wooden spatula. Then add the red wine, lemon juice, and contents of Bowl 2 (chives, bay leaves, and rest of the herbs and spices). Stir to incorporate the mixture, raise the heat a little, and bring the mixture to a low boil.

Add 2 cups of water, and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. You can cook it ahead to this point - even as long as the day before you plan to serve it, which will actually improve the flavor. If you cook it in advance, bring back to a low boil before resuming the recipe.

Add the peeled shrimp, and bring back to a low boil. Clap a cover on the pot, and immediately reduce the heat a little. Simmer on low for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve over a small amount of dry boiled white rice. 

Roux the Color of Rich Peanut Butter




No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.