I was digging around for my mama's recipe for this, and couldn't find it. Instead, I'll offer a recipe that evolved and descended from one I learned in a cooking class from Chef Patrick Mould of Lafayette -- I changed his recipe a lot (eliminating all that butter, for one), but from it used the idea of adding Tiger Sauce and Cajun Power Garlic Sauce (two Louisiana regional condiment sauces) for extra levels of flavor. You can obtain Tiger Sauce and Cajun Power Garlic Sauce at many supermarkets outside Louisiana, but if you can't find it locally, check our mail-order sources link. If you absolutely can't get it, don't worry about it. The dish will still be good without it.
By the way, people rave about this. Prepare for them to go back for seconds and thirds.
You can use this recipe to make Chicken Creole by substituting a 3 - 4 pound chicken, cut up (or 2 - 3 pounds of chicken breasts), seasoned and browned, and using chicken stock instead of shrimp stock.
To make a simple, quickie shrimp stock, reserve the shells and heads from the peeled shrimp, add to 2 quarts cold water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain thoroughly.
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or use 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil for slightly more richness)
- 2 medium brown onions, small dice
- 2 medium red onions, small dice
- 1 green bell pepper, small dice
- 1 red bell pepper, small dice
- 1 yellow bell pepper, small dice
- 2 poblano chiles, small dice
- 6 ribs celery
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 quarts shrimp stock
- 6 cups crushed tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, run them through a food mill)
- 3 6-ounce cans tomato paste
- 1 quart ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning or Tony Chachere's seasoning
- 3 tablespoons Tiger Sauce (optional)
- 3 tablespoons Cajun Power Garlic Sauce (optional; substitute several cloves of roasted garlic)
- 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Steen's cane syrup or light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco or Crystal)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- About 15 cups cooked long-grain or converted rice (about 5 cups raw)
Sweat the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic in oil and/or butter in a large covered pot until tender, about 15 minutes.
Add all of the remaining ingredients except the shrimp. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes.
Add the shrimp. Simmer an additional 15 minutes.
To serve, heap about 1 cup of rice in the center of the plate, and ladle a generous amount of the sauce around it. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Serves 15 regular people, or about 7 Cajuns.
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)