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Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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Justin Fox Burks
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Happy Mardi Gras!

Since it is Fat Tuesday today, I can think of no better way to celebrate than with a dish from Louisiana. I’d like to suggest Shrimp Creole.

This iconic Louisiana dish is so popular not only because of how delicious it is but how easy it is to prepare.  Since it can made in just about thirty minutes, it is the perfect weeknight supper. 

Whether you use fresh or frozen shrimp for this dish, you should always devein the shrimp. To devein a shrimp is to remove the black threadlike intestinal tract that runs along its back. I recommend doing this because the digestive tract can be full of grit, plus it’s just unappetizing.

To easily devein shrimp, first carefully remove the shell from the shrimp. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow incision along the entire length of the back of the shrimp.  Remove the intestinal track with the tip of your knife. Rinse under cold water.

If using frozen shrimp, save your self a step and purchase already peeled and deveined shrimp. The best way to thaw frozen shrimp is to place them in a bowl in your refrigerator overnight. If buying the shrimp the same day as making the dish, thaw by running cold water over them in a colander for 10 minutes.

Another short cut is canned tomatoes. I find that canned whole tomatoes melt into a sauce better than canned diced tomatoes.  To break them up, I like to cut them with my kitchen scissors while they are still in the can before adding them to the pot.

My grandmother’s recipe for Shrimp Creole in online at wknofm.org. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Happy Mardi Gras!

Shrimp Creole

  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (16/20 count), peeled and deveined, thawed if using frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery (1 stalk)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28-ounce) whole tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups cooked white rice, warm

Place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and toss with the cayenne pepper and paprika.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a plate and reserve.

In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.  Add the whole tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon or fork. Add the tomato paste and stock. Stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Return the shrimp to the pan and stir to combine.  Cook until the shrimp are warmed through, about 2 to 3 more minutes.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve warm over white rice.

Serves 6.

Printed with permission from The Southern Pantry Cookbook by Jennifer Chandler.