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BackstoryThis is some real shrimp creole made the way my cajun grandma made it when shrimp were cheaper than ground beef.
- 3 pounds of cleaned, deveined 36/40 shrimp;
- 1 lb cleaned, deveined 70/90 shrimp;
- 2 cups diced bell pepper;
- 1 cup chopped celery;
- 3 tbs of oil;
- 3 cups chopped onion;
- 3 tbs butter;
- 4 tbs tomato paste;
- 2 tbs chopped garlic;
- 2 tsp paprika;
- 2 tsp thyme leaves;
- 1 tsp black pepper;
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper;
- 2 tsp salt;
- 2 bay leaves;
- 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) of diced tomatoes with liquid;
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth;
- 2 tbs dried parsley;
- 2 tsp sugar;
- 2 tbs butter;
- 1 1/2 tbs all purpose flour;
- 1/2 tbs salt;
- 1/4 tsp black pepper;
- 1 tbs thyme leaves;
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- Saute 2 cups diced bell pepper and 1 cup chopped celery in 3 tbs of oil in a 6 quart heavy bottomed pot over medium heat until they just get tender.
- About 8-10 minutes.
- Add 3 cups chopped onion and 3 tbs butter and saute for another 5 minutes until the onions get tender but not brown.
- Scrape the vegetables from the center of the pan, add 1 more tbs butter to the pan in the empty spot and put in 4 tbs tomato paste.
- Fry the tomato paste until it darkens.
- After the tomato paste darkens, add 2 tbs chopped garlic and then mix the tomato paste, garlic and the vegetables together and saute for another minute until you can smell the garlic.
- Stir in 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp thyme leaves, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp salt, 2 bay leaves and saute for another minute.
- Add 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) of diced tomatoes with liquid, 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, 2 tbs dried parsley, 2 tsp sugar and 1 lb cleaned, deveined 70/90 shrimp.
- Stir thoroughly and simmer for 1 hr.
- Melt 2 tbs butter over medium heat in a nonstick pan.
- After the butter melts and starts to bubble, add 1 1/2 tbs all purpose flour and stir continuously until flour browns to a beige french vanilla colored roux.
- Immediately mix the roux into the simmering tomatoes, shrimp and vegetables along with 1/2 tbs salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1 tbs thyme leaves.
- Simmer for another five minutes.
- Add 3 pounds of cleaned, deveined 36/40 shrimp. I cook mine for another 45 minutes to an hour because I like my shrimp cooked until they are smothered tender, the way my grandma cooked shrimp creole.
- It's the difference between seared meat and braised meat.
- The meat stays tender but in different ways.
- You can just simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the shrimp are just pink if you want. After the simmering period you select is over, add 3 cups of chopped green onions and turn off the burner.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes then add 2 tbs fresh lemon juice and stir well.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- These television chefs like to just barely cook the shrimp.
- When you barely cook the shrimp it looks like there is more shrimp in the creole and they can get away with putting in fewer shrimp.
- This is good for the bottom line if you're cooking in a restaurant.
- It's not as good for the creole.
- When I was a kid shrimp was a lot cheaper than ground beef so it wasn't a problem to put in a lot of shrimp and have them shrink up.
- As a compromise, in this recipe the first pound of shrimp is put in early to flavor the gravy so it tastes like my grandma's.
- Serve the creole over steamed rice with some garlic bread.
- Freezes very well.
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