How To Make Shrimp Creole

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I’m a Yankee. So I have no idea how traditional this version of shrimp creole may be. But it sure is tasty.

NOTE: It’s always a good idea to ask where your meat is coming from, but with shrimp it’s even more important. With the oil spill in the gulf, we don’t yet know the impact on fish that could be caught this year, or the long-term viability of the fisheries. And it’s probably best to avoid imported shrimp, except from Canada. (This assumes you’re in the U.S. Otherwise, check your local regulations and use your judgment.)

Ingredients

100822-165707_Lg1 pound uncooked shrimp (thawed)
1 medium can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper
½ large yellow onion
½ cup white mushrooms
4-6 cloves garlic
3-4 thin slices ham
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and black pepper to taste
chipotle powder

Directions

Keep your knives sharp. This has nothing to do with creole. When you’re cutting a pepper and instead of slicing cleanly it rolls over, letting the knife slide onto your fingertip — and by the way, you should have your fingers tucked under when chopping  …

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Fortunately the knife was so dull that it only cut halfway through instead of taking the fingertip clean off. Thanks for your concern.

So anyway

Dice the pepper and onion.

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Bring some water to a boil and add the shrimp.

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Boil for about 10-12 minutes, until bright red on the edges and there is no gray color left.

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Drain, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Don’t overcook shrimp or it will get rubbery. Peel the shells and chop into bite-size pieces.

Melt a few tablespoons of butter or bacon fat in a large non-reactive pan — stainless steel or porcelain coated, but not raw cast iron (unless you’re really confident in the season).

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Add the onion and pepper, and season with salt and black pepper.

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Chop the mushroom roughly, mince the garlic and add both.

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Here’s where traditionalists are probably going to have a problem with this. I’ve seen recipes that call for no pepper. Some say crushed red pepper, or cayenne, or Tabasco — which is cayenne with vinegar. I went with about a teaspoon of chipotle, which is made from roasted jalapeños.

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You can obviously go with more or less pepper, depending on how spicy you like it. Just remember that it’s easy to add more, but pretty hard to take pepper out if you overdo it.

Mince and add the ham.

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You can see in that last  picture that the onion and pepper are thoroughly softened and starting to brown. If you did a mise en place — that’s just French for “set in place”, meaning you prepped everything all at once before you started cooking — you’ll have to cook for a while before adding the tomatoes. If you chop as you go, and stir after each addition, there should be plenty of time for everything to cook along the way.

Now that all the veggies are cooked, stir in the tomatoes and the Worcestershire sauce.

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Once the tomatoes are heated through, remove it from heat and stir in the shrimp.

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Serve over white rice. (Unless you’re on a low-carb diet, in which case serve with blackeyed peas.

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And that’s it.

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

Ingredients

  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp (thawed)
  • 1 medium can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • ½ large yellow onion
  • ½ cup white mushrooms
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 thin slices ham
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • chipotle powder

Instructions

Boil the shrimp in salted water for about 10-12 minutes, until bright red on the edges and there is no gray color left. Drain, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Peel the shells and chop into bite-size pieces.

Melt a few tablespoons of butter or bacon fat in a large non-reactive pan. Dice the onion and pepper, season with salt and black pepper and add to the pan. Chop the mushroom roughly, mince the garlic and add both. Add the chipotle powder. Mince and add the ham.

Cook over medium heat until the veggies are softened and starting to brown slightly, then stir in the tomatoes and the Worcestershire sauce.

Heat through, remove from heat and stir in the shrimp. Serve over blackeyed peas or small white beans.

Comments

  1. RollingStonemom says:

    Drew,
    2 things.

    1. Why would you cook your shrimp first? Why not let them cook in the sauce after it is made? They cook so quickly.

    2. If you must cook your shrimp first, the water would need to be seasoned with crab boil (or some kind of seasonings…salt, pepper, cayene, bay, etc.) No seasonings in the water for the shrimp make for tastless shrimp.

    Just my 2 cents worth. Thanks for sharing. Love to read what you’ve been up to in the kitchen.

    • The easy answer is, “Because the recipe that inspired this said to do it that way.” I didn’t follow everything else in that recipe, though, so why this?

      I’ve had bad luck with seafood, so I’m really careful to make sure it’s cooked right, even at the expense of maybe not being as flavorful as it could be. If I cooked the shrimp in the sauce, I wouldn’t be able to see the color as well, so how would I know when it was done?

      I’m sure with more experience I’ll get better at it, but this was more foolproof.

    • If you cook the shrimp in the sauce it taste much better as they complainment each other. From Down South the Bayou Country.

  2. As a Cajun I can say it looks close. Your missing one part of the Holy trinity of Cajun cooking, green onions. Also most Cajuns would probably use red pepper.

  3. I’m no Cajun nor am I Creole but my Aunt is Creole. She said she has never heard of adding ham to shrimp creole but that it sounded like a good idea to her. She also indicated that cajun and creole cooking are completely different, which might explain the ham. I’ll be picking her brain for more on that subject. No matter how it goes, it sure does look appetizing!

  4. I received an alternate recipe from a friend who lives in Georgia, and has spent some time in New Orleans. His version didn’t have tomatoes, but listed three different hot peppers. I asked if I was right that cajun is typically hot, and creole not necessarily. He said, “Actually I am making ettouffe :-) cajun is more regular food, creole is more upscale.”

    In case you’re interested, his recipe was:

    1 lb of peeled shrimp
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    7 cloves of garlic diced
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup chopped green peppers
    1 cup chopped celery
    2 or to taste finely ground jalapeños
    1 stick butter
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    red pepper to taste
    Tabasco to taste
    Worcestershire to taste

    put peeled shrimp in a bowl, sprinkle the lemon juice over them and refrigerate

    melt butter into oil
    add vegetables and sauté until the onions are starting to be translucent
    hit with the Worcestershire sauce to slightly brown the liquid
    sprinkle with red pepper and Tabasco
    put on simmer and cover stirring occasionally until the vegetables have rendered (shrunk down a lot)
    add shrimp and liquid from the shrimp bowl stir in and turn the heat up to bring to boil
    turn down to simmer covered until shrimp are orange (approximately 5-8 minutes)
    use gulf or Texas shrimp

    enjoy over rice

  5. Oh my, that does look tasty. Just need to get the big-ol’ pan, and convince the girls that picking eyeballs off of shrimp is fun and not icky.

  6. Sir Struggle says:

    Cajun is everyday, “salt of the earth” food. The recipes came from using what was available, hence the thousands of different recipes for gumbo, etoufee, etc…

    Creole is refined cajun cuisine found in New Orleans and rarely anywhere else (used to be anyways.)

    You ARE missing the celery from the trinity. In theory, it should be 2 parts onion to 1 part celery and 1 part pepper, just like a mirepoix is 2 parts onion to one part celery and 1 part carrot.

    I am a whimsical cook so I rarely follow recipes to the letter, and the smokiness of the chipotle probably worked well, much like adding andouille, but I still would have used cayenne. Creole is an easy sauce to make and very forgiving because of its bold flavors.

    And I agree with the 1st poster that the shrimp go in last. It’s the same with gumbos, jambalayas, etc. If you’re worried about undercooking the shrimp, don’t be because they literally take 2 minutes tops in simmering sauce.

  7. I am not a huge creole fan…but this looks tasty, and I will def try it! It never hurts to try stuff new!

    As for the paella…please please please..I love that stuff! You can make it without the heads on the shrimp!

  8. Looks amazing. We were just in New Orleans and fell in love with the food. I forwarded this post to my wife, I think I will be having it soon! Will post back with the resluts. Thanks again for sharing with us.

  9. Hi Drew,

    I enjoy stopping by your site from time to time and appreciate everything you do to inspire people to get into the kitchen cooking real food! I know you said you cooked the shrimp first because you have had back luck with seafood in the past. I encourage you to give cooking the shrimp right in the sauce a go. It will be so much tastier. You will be able to tell when the shrimp are done – they will curl up, get pink, and be firm to the touch. And if they happen not to be done, you can always just through them back on the stove for a couple more minutes. (No harm – no foul.) Cooking really is all about experimenting and practicing. As a Yankee who loves cajun and creole food, I would add celery and cayenne and skip the mushrooms and ham, for a more authentic version. And as a ham and mushroom lover, I bet this was mighty tasty.

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