Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shrimp creole

I may never have lived anywhere close to Louisiana or the famous Bayou, but that doesn't stop me from being able to appreciate and enjoy many of their native and signature dishes.  One of my favorites is the style of cooking known as Creole.  Almost all Creole food is heavily seasoned with some sort of pepper and is quite spicy, although the level of spice depends on who is preparing the dish.  The basic ingredient at the heart of almost all Creole dishes is a roux, which is a mixture of flour and fat (traditionally butter), and is used as a thickening agent.  It is the base used for gravies and sauces in Creole cooking, including Jambalaya and Gumbo.

Gumbo is a stewy soup that is traditionally served over cooked rice, whereas Jambalaya is a rice dish, rather like a hearty meat-and-vegetable-studded pilaf.  Jambalaya is a product of the Spanish influence in Louisiana, and was originally meant to be a substitute for paella, which is a Spanish national dish.  Both dishes typically contain some type of shell fish, such as shrimp or crawfish, and may include other meats such as chicken, sausage, beef and/or pork.

But enough about the derivation of these wonderful culinary delights.  This recipe is for Shrimp Creole, and is actually fairly easy to prepare.  You will spend a little time at the beginning doing some slicing and dicing, but from then on it is a one pot meal (excluding the rice) that simply needs time to cook and simmer and get all those wonderful flavors mixed together.

Makes 3 to 5 servings

3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (or yellow or red)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 1/2 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cooked white or brown rice


1.  Heat the oil in a dutch oven or large heavy skillet and cook the onion, celery, peppers and garlic over medium low heat until tender, about 10 minutes.

2.  Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, sugar, chili powder, and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking.

3.  Increase the heat to medium.  Mix the cornstarch and water, and stir into the tomato mixture.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the shrimp are done, having a pink color.

Serve the gumbo ladled over a bed of rice, and garnish with some chopped green onions if desired.

1 comment:

  1. Yummy, delicious recipe and great idea to serve it on rice! I absolutely love rice, especially Tilda Basmati. YOu should check out their website for some great rice recipe ideas :)