This has such a depth of flavor and the spice can be dialed up or down depending on your level of comfort. Serve it with rice or serve it on its own, either way it is filling and satisfying. This comes from Vallery Lomas via NYTimes Cooking and it takes a little bit of patience to ensure the roux doesn’t burn, but it’s worth it.
For 4 servings you’ll need: 1/2 stick unsalted butter, 1/3 cup flour, 1 medium onion (finely chopped), 1 green pepper (cored, seeded and chopped), 2 celery stalks (thinly sliced), 1 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined), 4 garlic cloves (peeled, crushed and chopped), 1 15oz can of tomato sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 2 bay leaves, 3 scallion (chopped), handful of fresh parsley (chopped), salt and pepper. For the Creole Spice mix: 1 Tbsp smoked paprika, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper.
First, make the creole spice mix by combining the paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Peel and devein the raw shrimp, pat dry with paper towels and place into a medium bowl. Add 1 tsp of the creole spice mix and toss to cover all of the shrimp. Set aside.
In a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium low heat. Gradually add the flour by sprinkling a little at a time over the melted butter and then stir well with a wooden spoon. Do this with a little flour at a time stirring constantly to create a smooth roux. Turn up the heat just a little and continue to stir until the roux is thickened and has the color of peanut butter. About 8-10 mins. Be careful not to burn this stage – you ensure that doesn’t happen by stirring and controlling the heat.
Add the chopped onion, pepper and celery to the roux and stir well to cover everything. Continue to cook over medium heat until the onions and peppers begin to soften – about 7-8 mins. Add the chopped garlic and combine well until fragrant – about 1-2 mins.
Add 1/2 cup water, tomato sauce, sugar, thyme, basil, oregano, bay leaves and a good grinding of salt and pepper. Combine well over medium heat – add more water if it needs loosening up (and, if you want, add a couple dashes of hot sauce here if you want a bigger kick) and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat so it is gently simmering, cover and cook, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick, for another 10 mins. If needed add a bit more water if it needs a little loosening, but ultimately you want it to thicken so don’t use too much.
Add the spiced shrimp and cook another 2-3 mins until shrimp are fully cooked and turn pink.
Turn off the heat, taste and adjust seasoning, if needed, and let the stew stand for about 10 mins to settle.
Serve on its own or over rice in bowls topped with chopped scallions and parsley.