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Growing up in New Orleans there were always entrepreneurs around willing to sell you something. Since seafood was plentiful, we could count on a guy in a truck riding through the neighborhood with a cooler full of fresh shrimp. When he would pull up in front of our house, my mother would carefully inspect the catch then order ten pounds of shrimp. The driver would reach in his truck, promptly pull out a scale to weigh the order, wrap the shrimp in newspaper, count his cash, then he was one his way. My sisters and I then had the tasks of peeling and de-veining all those shrimp until it felt like our fingers were raw, but it was worth the effort. This was also the first New Orleans dish I ever made for my husband. I think it started him on the path to a love affair with me and New Orleans food.
Recipe Name: Shrimp Creole
2 pounds shrimp (peeled and deveined)
(season raw shrimp with salt and pepper)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 large bay leaves
2 (15 oz. cans) tomato sauce (4 cups)
1/3 cup water (or seafood stock)*
2 tablespoons Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon Thyme
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup plain flour
4 stalks chopped green onions (for finishing)
2 cups cooked white rice
Using a 12 inch skillet, sauté onions, green peppers, celery and garlic in vegetable oil on medium-high heat for about 10-12 minutes (mixture should be soft and wilted). Add flour and stir frequently for about 5 minutes (until flour is fully incorporated). Add tomato sauce, water, bay leaves, Creole seasoning, pepper and thyme. Stir until mixture is fully incorporated. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes (stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks). Add Shrimp and cover for another 15-20 minutes. Serve over white rice (garnish with green onions). Serves 4-6 people.
*To make seafood stock. After pealing shrimp, boil shells in a pot with 2 cups of water for about 15-20 minutes. Or use chicken stock.