Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shrimp and Andouille Creole

Back in Memphis, we had a cooking team called "Boogie-T-Roux & the Mempho Crew." We cooked gumbo along side teams from Louisiana, Mississippi, and even some self-proclaimed Gar enthusiasts from Arkansas. The best we ever managed was a third place finish, but considering we were going up against some of the best reastaurants in town, we thought that was pretty good. While this isn't really a gumbo, it's a darned good "Creole." I got the idea from Patout's Cajun Home Cooking by Alex Patout (Random House).

Ingredients

2 pounds Shrimp ; heads on
1 quart Water
1/2 cup Corn oil
2 medium Onions ; chopped
1 large Bell pepper ; chopped
2 ribs Celery ; finely chopped
1 pound sliced okra (frozen is fine)
28 ounces Canned tomatoes ; diced, with liquid
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper ; ground
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper ; ground
1/2 teaspoon White pepper ; ground
1 teaspoon Thyme ; dried, whole
2 teaspoon Basil ; dried, whole
1 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
5 whole Bay leaf
1 pound Andouille sausage ; diced

Instructions

Peel shrimp, and remove heads. Place peels and heads in stock pot and simmer in the water for at least 30 minutes. Season shrimp with your favorite blend of seasonings. I like garlic and onion powders, cayenne, and a pinch of salt. Set them aside until dinner time.

In a heavy Dutch oven, heat up the corn oil. Add the onions, peppers, and celery. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are very soft. Add okra, stirring constantly until stringiness disappears.

Stir in the tomatoes, ground peppers, herbs, and sugar. Add the shrimp stock and continue cooking, stirring now and then.

In the meantime, cook the diced Andouille in a skillet and set aside.

Allow the shrimp stock mixture to cook about an hour at a gentle simmer. When ready to serve, add the sausage to the stock and bring to a boil.

Stir in the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. 4 - 6 minutes depending on their size.

Serve on flat plates over beds of rice.

Or serve as a bowl of soup without the rice.

I like to sprinkle with filè powder.
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