CHARLOTTE – As you read this, Fat Tuesday, sometimes called Shrove Tuesday will be soon upon us. Traditionally, many of us would consume those items that may be forbidden during the season of Lent. This tomato-based saucy Shrimp Creole will teleport you to the balcony-lined streets of New Orleans. The flavors of gumbo file powder, roasted peppers and onions along with the accent of Worcestershire illuminates this dish to the Mardi Gras level. Serving this with buttered white rice and a cold beverage will pay credence to those on Bourbon Street celebrating. So break out your beads and Zydeco music and get ready to make some taste memories! Enjoy ~
Fat Tuesday Shrimp Creole (yields 6-8 servings)
Prep Time: 20 Minutes | On the Table: 60 Minutes
4 tablespoons Butter | 4 tablespoons AP Flour
1 small onion, small diced | 1 Green Pepper, small diced
2 stalks Celery, chopped in thin ½ moons | 1 teaspoon Gumbo File Powder
1 tablespoon Garlic, minced | 1 teaspoon Thyme, fresh, chopped
2 teaspoon Oregano, fresh, chopped | 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper | 1 ½ tablespoon Paprika (not smoked)
3 Bay Leaves | ¼ teaspoon celery salt | 8 oz. Chicken Stock
1 (15-oz.) can whole tomatoes, crushed | 1 (15- oz.) can diced tomatoes
3 Spring Onions, bias-cut | 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce | 10 shots Tabasco
2# Tiger Shrimp, peeled deveined and washed- size 16-20
Sea Salt and Fresh Milled Pepper to taste
8 Cups Cooked White Rice
After you have prepped all of your ingredients, place your white rice on the stove. I take for granted that folks know how to make rice, but I will tell you my way: In a saucepan- place 2 cups of uncooked white rice, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 bay leaf, 4 turns of the pepper mill, and 1 tablespoon of butter. Place over medium heat and bandy the rice around until all of the butter has melted and you smell the slightest toasting of rice (no color). Add in 4 cups of cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately reduce to as low of a simmer as you can and cook until thoroughly absorbed. This will take about 17 minutes. Once finished, turn the heat off and let rest for 10 minutes.
In a large thick-bottomed pan- preferably a large cast iron pan that has seen its far share of cooking, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the flour and stir over medium-low heat with an old wooden spoon- keep stirring- don’t stop- until you create a light brown roux. The roux will provide a nutty-earthy flavor to the dish while aiding the viscosity of the tomato base. This process will take 5-8 minutes or more- don’t rush this process, as this is one of the most important parts of the process.
Now that you have your brown roux, place your pan on medium heat and add in your onions, peppers, celery, and gumbo file powder. Cook by stirring for 4 minutes with the old wooden spoon. Next add in your garlic, cayenne red pepper flakes, and paprika, cook for an additional 2 minutes. Last, add in the oregano, thyme, bay leaves, celery salt, chicken stock, crushed and diced tomatoes and season with sea salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 25 minutes- the sauce should thicken. Add in the Worcestershire, Tabasco and ½ of the spring onions.
In a separate pan, sauté the shrimp with the canola oil over medium heat. Cook only for 2 minutes- then pour the entire contents of the pan into the tomato mixture. Simmer the Shrimp creole for 5 more minutes. For service, place a mound of rice in a bowl and top with the Shrimp Creole- sprinkle with spring onions. Share meals together, Food is Life, Food is Love!
Chef Glenn is a corporate chef based in Waxhaw- please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org