Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shrimp A la Creole or Shrimp Creole

We do love our spicy food and Shrimp Creole (originally known as Shrimp A La Creole) is one of our long time favorites.  I started making this recipe when we were first married 42 years ago.  The recipe I use is from the Betty Crocker cookbook I received as a wedding shower gift.  I have made a few tweaks to it over the years, but it is oh so delicious and easy to make.

I did a little research on Shrimp Creole and this is what I found.  Creole cooking is a combination of French, Italian, African and Spanish cooking originating from the Louisiana Territory even before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.  Creole cooking is the original food influence in New Orleans.

Shrimp creole is a dish of Louisiana Creole origin (FrenchAfrican and Spanish Heritage), consisting of cooked shrimp in a mixture of whole or diced tomatoes, onion, celery and bell pepper, spiced with hot sauce, and served over steamed or boiled white rice.  Wikipedia

Even though Wikipedia doesn't mention the Italian cooking influence, other information said the use of tomatoes in their cooking  comes from the large Italian migration that occurred in that area.  Makes sense.    Whoever is responsible, I salute you!  

Before you start cooking your Shrimp Creole, make about 6 servings of white rice and let it cook while you make your sauce.   The rice will stay warm in a covered pan if it finishes a little before the creole sauce.

Here is what you need:

1 large onion, diced
4 ribs celery sliced
1 large green pepper diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 to 2 Tbsps olive oil
1 to 1.5 pounds shrimp shelled, deveined and tails removed (frozen works fine)
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup medium or hot taco sauce (or you can use Tobasco by adding it in drops until you reach the "heat" you want.  Dan thinks Tobasco has too much vinegar for his taste, so I use the taco sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste  (I never add salt as there is enough in the tomatoes and seasonings in the sauce, but I do add black pepper)

I make my sauce in an electric skillet because the temperature is easier to control.  Place temp on 325 and add olive oil to pan.  When hot, add onions and saute until translucent.  Add celery and green peppers and saute.   Don't overcook.  I like them still somewhat crisp.  Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, and worcestershire sauce.  Cook for 20/25 minutes until sauce starts to thicken.  Add hot sauce.  Add shrimp and cook just until pink, only takes a couple of minutes.  If you are using frozen shrimp, throw them in still frozen and they will cook just fine.  Turn heat off.   This is how it looks in the pan.  OH SO GOOD!

To serve, place white rice in the middle of a plate and spoon the creole sauce over the rice like in the picture above.  Let me say, it's fantastic.  When I am in a "spicy" mood, this is my go to dish.  Most people think Mexican for spicy, but this is a fabulous change up from Tex-Mex.  Yummmmmmy.

We have a green salad and warm crusty bread with our Shrimp Creole and my, oh my, what a delicious dinner.  Next time you are having company and you want something different, easy, and delicious, give this recipe a try.  If you have left overs, and this is my favorite part, put the rice in a large tupperware bowl, cover with sauce and you have the most delicious left overs ever.  It reheats great in a microwave oven.  I just place the amount we each want in individual serving bowls, cover with a paper towel and heat.  Just as good the second time around!  Mmmm Mmmmm Mmmmm  Time to think Creole.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin. Mark Twain