Louisiana Shrimp Creole
By Charles Oppman
Shrimp Creole is a dish of Louisiana Creole origin―French and Spanish heritage―consisting of cooked shrimp in a mixture of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce, onion, celery and bell pepper, parsley and garlic spice with condiments. This dish is commonly served over steamed or boiled white rice. The shrimp may be cooked in the mixture or cooked separately and added at the end. Other “Creole” dishes may be made by substituting some other meat or seafood for the shrimp, or omitting the meat entirely and make an all veggie version. Nearly every restaurant in Louisiana has its own version of Shrimp Creole. Apart from the foundation ingredients of onion, celery and bell pepper, Creole dishes are commonly used as “improvisational” delight, as the basic recipe may be altered to include whatever ingredients the cook has readily available. The shrimp may be substituted with alligator, fried fish, chicken or pork. Smoked sausage may be added.
Serves: 8-10 Time: 1½ hours
2 pounds large shrimp with heads and shells
½ cup bacon, diced
1 cup bell peppers, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup curly parsley
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
2 cups tomato sauce
Worcestershire, hot sauce salt and cayenne and black pepper to taste
Peel the shrimp and use the shells and heads to make a shrimp stock. Simmer the heads and shells in two cups of water for 20 minutes. Reduce to one cup.
In a large heavy-bottomed skillet sauté bacon until fat is rendered out. Add celery, bell pepper, parsley, onion, bay leaves and thyme and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, Worcestershire and hot sauce, salt and cayenne and black pepper. Add shrimp stock and tomato sauce. Simmer entire mixture for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Add the raw shrimp to the Creole mixture and cook a few minutes until done. Serve with white rice.