Shrimp Creole is so DELICIOUS! Serve over steaming hot rice and you have some real Louisiana comfort food. A few days ago I had a bunch of my family and some friends at my home for brunch…a Beyoncé inspired brunch that is. Several of my cousins we’re coming in from out of town to attend the Beyoncé concert when she came to Atlanta on her “Formation” tour after she dropped her “Lemonade” visual album.
In one of the videos from Beyoncé’s album (do we still call them albums?) chef Leah Chase, the QUEEN of Creole cooking, is featured. That inspired me to make shrimp Creole for the group. Chef Leah Chase of Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans, LA recently received a much deserved James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.
In my family we never pass up a chance to gather and eat. My cousin called me to tell me that she was coming to Atlanta from Ohio to meet some more cousins coming in from South Carolina for the concert and suggested we get our Atlanta ladies together for brunch. She asked me if I knew of a restaurant we could use, I thought about it and suggested we have brunch at my house…which is what she really wanted in the first place, I think. When you go out in a large group to a restaurant for a meal you become limited to interacting with those seated near you. That’s too restrictive for me.
I was so glad we had brunch at home, we had an absolute BLAST! We could be as loud as we wanted (and we do get loud) and we could dance! We were sliding and wobbling all over the place. You can’t do that in a restaurant…well, you could but you might get a talking to by management.
To make a flavorful dish I started with a shrimp stock made from the shrimp shells just like I did for my Shrimp and Grits recipe. Making shrimp stock is as simple as boiling shrimp shells in water for 30 minutes to extract the flavor from the shells so you can add it to the recipe. I think it’s well worth the little extra effort to make shrimp stock, it helps to infuse the shrimp flavor at every level of the dish.
Start by making a small amount of golden roux by cooking butter and flour together, this small amount should only take about 5 minutes or so over medium heat to reach the proper color. Add the diced vegetables to the roux and cook a minute or two longer to soften. This will add flavor as well as thicken the shrimp stock and tomatoes.
- 2 pounds of large easy peel shrimp 21-20 size ( easy peel shrimp have the shell on but it's sliced down the back and the "vein" is removed
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ (or to taste) cayenne pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced ( I like yellow for the color contrast)
- 2 ribs of celery, diced
- 1 yellow or white onion, diced
- 5 scallions, sliced (reserve 2 tablespoons of the green part for garnish)
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1- 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes in tomato sauce
- Cooked rice to serve
- Peel the shrimp reserving the shells for stock
- SHRIMP STOCK-Place shrimp shells in a pot with 4 cups of water and simmer for 30 minutes
- Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and cayenne
- Strain the shrimp stock- you should have about 2-1/2 cups of stock
- In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat
- Saute the shrimp in the butter for 2 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from pan and reserve in the refrigerator
- Add the flour to the remaining butter in the pan and cook on medium low heat until the roux is golden brown, about the color of peanut butter.
- Add the diced red bell pepper, onion, celery and scallions and cook for 3-4 minutes
- Add the chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds
- Pour in the shrimp stock and diced tomatoes in sauce, stir and let simmer for 20 minutes. The mixture will start to thicken
- Add shrimp and simmer for 3 minutes until heated through