Much like gumbo, this shrimp and tomato stew starts with a roux that thickens and adds a distinct flavor (though many takes on shrimp Creole skip the roux altogether). Next, the “holy trinity” of Creole cooking — onion, celery and bell pepper — is simmered in the roux. You’ll want to stir the bottom of the pot constantly to prevent the roux from sticking and burning, and make sure to keep a close eye: A burned roux can’t be saved. Creole cuisine relishes improvisation, so feel free to add other veggies or a different protein, or omit the hot sauce and add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in its place. This spicy stew is traditionally served over steamed white rice, but is also delicious served over brown rice or other whole grains, like quinoa.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1tablespoon chili powder
- 1teaspoon onion powder
- 1teaspoon garlic powder
- ½teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, if desired)
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½teaspoon black pepper
- 1pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2teaspoons homemade or store-bought Creole seasoning
- ¼cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- ⅓cup all-purpose flour
- 1medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 1green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- 1(15-ounce) can tomato sauce (no salt added)
- 1to 2 teaspoons hot sauce, to taste (optional)
- 1teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½teaspoon dried thyme
- ½teaspoon dried oregano
- ½teaspoon dried basil
- 2dried bay leaves
- Fine sea salt and black pepper
- ¼cup chopped scallions
- ¼cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems
- Steamed rice, for serving
Step 1Make the optional Creole seasoning: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. The seasoning makes about 1/4 cup; store it in a closed container in a cool, dry place.
Step 2Toss the raw shrimp with 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning and set aside.
Step 3In 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.
Step 4Add 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.
Step 5Stir 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.)
Step 6Once 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.
Step 7Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle with scallions and parsley, and serve over steamed rice.