After several various tweaks I now have success at my fingertips. This dish is eloquently spicy; the heat is sweetly masked in the rich, savory gravy created by the melding of the fresh vine-ripened tomatoes and the homemade shrimp stock. My test palates confirmed that it was, "delicate yet hearty", with "just the right amount of spice", and "sat perfectly" "delicious to the last bite." I know it isn't good form to "mmm" over your own food, but I literally could not help myself! Shrimp Creole just made its way into my taste buds' heart and is a guaranteed gastronomic tour de force!
I have elected to use prawns, which bear a great resemblance to shrimp, so much so that many restaurants and grocery stores use them interchangeably, although the two have various differences on the biological level. The popular census is that prawns are larger (bonus), but I personally just find them more appetizing. Oh, and Costco sells them 1.5lbs for $13. Can't say no that!
Two most important factors I found is that: 1.) It is imperative to make your own homemade stock. Sure canned stock saves time but it will never be as flavorful and the added salt will bastardize your entire sauce. Besides, unlike other stocks, shrimp stock only takes an hour to cook and you can always prep ahead of time and freeze. And, 2.) Make your own Creole Seasoning. White pepper is a leading flavor component in this meal and most store-bought blends don't give it the limelight it deserves. My sauce had a completely different taste using a pre-made spice. So if you want to give your senses the full experience, don't skip these steps!
- 11/2 lbs Black Tiger Prawns
- 2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 1 large Vidalia Onion, diced
- 2 Celery Stalks, diced
- 1 large Green Bell Pepper, diced
- 4 Tbsp Diced Canned Tomatoes
- 2 1/2 cups fresh Campari Tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
- 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
- 2 Tbsp Paprika
- 1/4 cup Garlic Powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp White Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Cayenne
- 2 Tbsp Onion Granules
- 2 Tbsp Black Pepper
- 3 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- Makes 5 oz. I recycle empty spice bottles and relabel. Great to have on hand!
- 1/2 cup Dry White Wine
- 2 cups Homemade Shrimp Stock (*Recipe Here*)
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 fresh Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp Cayenne, Sea Salt, and White Pepper
- 1 bunch of fresh Thyme Sprigs
- 1 Tbsp Corn Starch dissolved in 2 Tbsp warm water
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Louisiana Hot Sauce
- 1/2 bunch of Green Onions, chopped
- Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, for garnish
*Begin by making your homemade stock and creole seasoning. Set aside.
*In a large a sauté pan melt the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, to form a blond roux. Next, add the onion, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well. Reduce the heat to medium and add the celery, green pepper, a pinch of salt, and 1 Tbsp of the Creole Seasoning. Stir well and allow the vegetables to sweat in the spices.
*Next add the canned and fresh tomatoes. Sprinkle in another pinch of salt to encourage the tomatoes to release their juices. Once the tomatoes break down pour in the white wine and increase the heat to high.
*As the sauce begins to bubble, add the shrimp stock and the second Tbsp of Creole Seasoning. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 35-40 minutes.
*Next, dissolve the corn starch in 2 Tbsp of warm water and turn up the heat on your sauce. Mix in the starch as the sauce begins to boil. This will cause your sauce to thicken to a gravy-esque consistency. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
*Let bubble while you prep the prawns.
*Toss prawns with cayenne, salt, and white pepper. Add them to your boiling sauce and reduce heat to low. It is very easy to overcook prawns and shrimp, so keep a close eye on them, turning off the heat as soon as they have all turned a light shade of pink. Stir in the green onions.
To Serve: Forgoing the traditional Creole boiled jasmine rice, I chose to instead serve this dish over a germinated brown rice. The hearty texture compliments the complex flavors of the Creole Sauce, activating dormant enzymes, which boosts health benefits and enhances tastes. Whichever type of rice you choose steam it with 2 bay leaves, a tsp of salt, and 1 Tbsp of butter per cup of rice.
*Also pair with a hearty french bread to sop up the gravy. I love the fresh baked artisan loafs from Costco.
I've never been to New Orleans (Nola Town in Disneyland doesn't quite count right?) and I don't claim to be an expert in their traditional cuisine- but this dish is DELICIOUS. I supplemented my personal knowledge and taste preferences with plenty of research to create an as close to authentic dish with some tasteful twists! This Shrimp Creole is sure to pacify the palate and send you back for seconds!