For the Creole Seasoning (optional)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, if desired)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
For the Shrimp
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons homemade or store-bought Creole seasoning
¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce, to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
2 dried bay leaves
Fine sea salt and black pepper
¼ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems
Steamed rice, for serving
Step 1: Make the optional Creole seasoning: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. The seasoning makes about ¼ cup; store it in a closed container in a cool, dry place.
Step 2: Toss the raw shrimp with 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning and set aside.
Step 3: In a Dutch oven or large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until a roux the color of peanut butter forms, about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Add the onion, celery and bell pepper, increase the heat to medium and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Step 5: Stir in ⅓ cup water, then the tomato sauce, hot sauce (if using), sugar, thyme, oregano, basil, bay leaves, 1½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally to make sure that the bottom doesn’t burn. (If needed, add more water.)
Step 6: Once the stew has thickened, add the seasoned shrimp and simmer until opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes, turning each piece halfway through the cooking time. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Step 7: Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle with scallions and parsley, and serve over steamed rice.
Yield: 4 servings Time: 50 minutes