I’ve tried dozens of different recipes for shrimp Creole in the past. However, this one – which is based on a NY Times recipe – is my wife’s favorite, so it’s become my go-to shrimp Creole recipe. It may look complicated due to the large number of ingredients, but the actual cooking time is pretty brief – about a half hour.
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (use Gulf shrimp, if available)
- 2 tsp. Creole seasoning
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce (no salt added)
- 1 to 2 tsp. hot sauce, to taste (optional)
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- 2 dried bay leaves
- Fine sea salt and black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems
- Steamed rice, for serving
- Toss the raw shrimp with 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning in a bowl and set aside.
- In a Dutch oven or large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until a roux the color of peanut butter forms, about 10 minutes. BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN MAKING ROUX. If it splatters onto your skin, it’s like hot lava. Not fun. It’s not surprising it’s often called Cajun Napalm. So, I recommend using a long wooden spoon or spatula to stir the roux and using gloves to cover your hands and forearms, if possible.
- Add the onion, celery and bell pepper, increase the heat to medium and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Stir in 1/3 cup water, then the tomato sauce, hot sauce (if using), sugar, thyme, oregano, basil, bay leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally to make sure that the bottom doesn’t burn. (If needed, add more water.)
- Once the stew has thickened, add the seasoned shrimp and simmer until opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes, turning each piece halfway through the cooking time. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle with scallions and parsley, and serve over steamed rice.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.