LUCY BURDETTE: Because the Key West pink shrimp are so outstanding down here, I am always looking for a chance to use them. Years ago, I used to make a version of shrimp creole, but that recipe is long gone. Here's a version that is not too time-consuming, can be made ahead, and serves 6-8 dinner guests happily. Or six, with leftovers for the next day.
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (we figured on about 6 per person)
1- 16 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes in sauce
2 medium onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped (or 3 small as I used)
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper
2-3 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp. flour
4 tbsp. oil
Cooked white rice
In a large pot, heat the flour and oil and stir over low heat for 10-15 minutes. (This is called a roux--be patient and make sure you don't burn it or the dish will be ruined.)
Add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add the bell pepper, celery, and creole seasoning and sauté for another 15 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the stock and sugar; bring to a boil stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to med-low, and simmer for another 20 minutes, continuing to stir.
Just before you are ready to serve, add the shrimp and simmer for about 2 to 5 minutes stirring frequently. The shrimp should be bright pink but not rubbery.
Serve over rice with a green vegetable or salad.
As with most soups and stews, it helps the flavors to deepen if you make the sauce a day ahead and let it sit in the refrigerator. (Or even the morning you'll serve it.)
(That is my brother-in-law's gorgeous home-grown bok choi on the side.)
And this is what I served for dessert: best ever Southern Caramel Cake. Mmmmmm.....
Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries:
DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is here now!
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