Even though I am not originally from Louisiana, Creole food feels like home cooking to me. This is one of my favorites, setting it atop garlic grits really takes it up several notches from serving it over white rice.
Notes: Because you will be cooking the onions and peppers over medium high heat, you want to make sure you use a heavy pot- I use a large Le Creusset dutch oven. Cooking Creole is like a religion all its own around here- this is what I can tell you: 1.When things start to stick it is ok, remove from the heat for a few seconds and stir until the caramelized sauce on the bottom of the pot dissolves back into the sauce. 2. Dry seasonings are always added at the beginning with the onions so the vegetables have enough time to absorb all the flavor. Also, use the reddest ripest tomatoes you can find-- canned tomatoes are absolutely not allowed. (big no no!). All the vegetables should be diced to about 1/4 inch. This dish freezes exceptionally well. Serves 8-10. Serve with garlic grits and a buttermilk biscuit.
Louisiana Shrimp Creole
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 lb.'s peeled and de-veined shrimp (21-25 count per pound)
2 cups chopped yellow onion (1/4 inch dice)
1 cup chopped bell pepper (half green, half red)
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups fresh diced tomatoes (I use Roma tomatoes)
1 - 10 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 lb. unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme leaves
1 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 fresh bay leaves ( you can use dry- I have a tree, so I always use fresh)
2 cups chicken or seafood stock
1/4 cup butter (for stirring in at the end)
1. In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add flour (making a roux) and cook until light brown. Add onions, peppers, garlic and all dry seasonings. Cook until onions start to brown and caramelize, usually about 15 minutes. Add celery, fresh tomatoes and continue to cook for another 30 minutes at medium heat.
2. Add tomato sauce, fresh herbs, and bay leaves and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon (this is an essential process).
3. Add 2 cups stock and stir, simmer for 15 minutes. Add shrimp, cover with lid and simmer an additional 20 minutes or until the shrimp are plump and pink. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup butter until melted. Taste for salt and serve over garlic grits or white rice.
GARLIC GRITS: Boil 1 cup of cream and 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup grits, 2 tablespoons minced roasted garlic, 1 teaspoon white pepper and salt to taste. Stir and simmer over medium low heat for 5-7 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.