Today I’m pleased to reveal my adaptation of Shrimp Creole from Emily’s blog, It Bakes Me Happy. Being a member of the Secret Recipe Club has given me the chance to read and cook from so many wonderful food blogs. Emily’s blog is full of not only tantalizing recipes, but also evident is her vivacious personality and love for her family and blogger friends. We love shrimp in our family and live on the coast where fresh shrimp is abundant, so it was an easy decision choosing the shrimp creole.
Louisiana Creole cooking is a melting pot of cuisines-French, African, Portuguese, Italian, Native American and Spanish with a little Southern thrown in the pot. Traditional ingredients in shrimp creole are diced tomatoes, the holy trinity-onion, green bell pepper and celery-and a hot sauce. Creole dishes are thicker and spicier than a gumbo which is also served over rice, but is made without a roux. The foundation of creole, gumbo and jambalaya (rice is incorporated in the cooking process) dishes is the holy trinity. My adaptation is called “holier than thou trinity” as I substituted canned green chiles for the bell pepper that accidentally ended up in a soup the day before. I liked the idea of sauteing this mirepoix in a small amount of bacon fat and adding the cooked diced bacon to the final dish which I served over fried polenta. And since we like spicy food, ancho chile powder, Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce made its way into the shrimp creole. If making your own fried polenta seems a daunting task, pre-made polenta in a tube can be found most supermarkets.
- 3 slices bacon, diced
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 2 whole canned green chiles, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce, or hot sauce of choice
- 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Sliced green onions, for garnish
- In a heavy saucepan, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Pour off some of the bacon fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan. Add the onion, celery and green chiles to the pan. Saute until softened. Add the chile powder and minced garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. Bring this to a boil, lower heat and cook about 20 minutes. Add shrimp, cook until pink and opaque, about 5 minutes. Add reserved bacon or top finished dish with bacon and chopped green onions. Serve over fried polenta (recipe follows) or cooked white rice.
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup coarse ground polenta- Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits-Polenta
- In a heavy saucepan, add the water, salt, and butter. Bring to a boil. Add the polenta, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the polenta from sticking to the saucepan. A diffuser plate works well with this type of cooking. Cook about 20-30 minutes or until mixture is very thick.
- Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Pour in the polenta, smoothing the surface with a greased spatula. Cool, then refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours or overnight. Next day, cut the polenta in triangles.
- In a large heavy skillet, preferable cast-iron, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Fry the triangles of polenta until crisp and brown on each side.
To serve-place 1-2 triangles of fried polenta on a plate. Top with shrimp creole, bacon and chopped green onions.
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