When you can't get to New Orleans, cook New Orleans. This fun and effortless recipe for Shrimp Creole is loaded with tender shrimp and tomatoes all simmered in the holy trinity of ingredients, true Louisiana style.
In a large heavy pot over medium heat, melt butter until foaming. Whisk in flour and cook until blonde in color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Add onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes with their juice, shrimp stock, bay leaves, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove bay leaves, garnish with parsley, and serve over rice.
Shrimp stock: The shrimp shells from the 2 pounds of raw shrimp needed for this recipe are enough to make 4 cups homemade shrimp stock. Or substitute store-bought seafood stock or chicken broth.
Cayenne pepper: Omit if you don’t like spicy food. Add more if you do!
Shrimp: Buy raw shrimp in the shell if possible. Before you cook, clean the shrimp and make stock with the shells. Raw shrimp are the best in this recipe (pre-cooked shrimp will turn rubbery). Thaw frozen shrimp overnight in the refrigerator or in a bowl in the sink with a trickle of cold water running over them.
Yield: This recipe makes 8 (1-cup) servings of Shrimp Creole. Serve with hot cooked rice or crusty bread.
Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make ahead: You can prepare the sauce (everything through Step 3) up to 3 days in advance. For best results, reheat the sauce and add the shrimp when you are ready to eat.
Chicken: Substitute 4 cups cooked chicken for the shrimp, or do a mix (2 cups chicken and 1 pound of shrimp, for example).
Okra: Some cooks add a few handfuls of frozen chopped okra to the sauce to simmer into the tomatoes. Okra also acts as a natural thickener.
Spicy: Serve with your favorite hot sauce or crushed red chili flakes for extra heat.