Shrimp Creole

Course : Shrimp
Serves: 6
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2 pounds fresh shrimp -- heads off
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large bell peppers -- chopped
10 large tomatoes -- peeled, seeded
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon fresh basil or 2 t dried
5 pieces bay leaves
1 cup parsley -- chopped
3 medium yellow onions -- chopped
5 medium celery ribs -- chopped fine
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 2 t dried
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup green onions -- chopped

Preparation / Directions:

Peel and devein the shrimp. Place heads (if you have them), and peels in a small saucepan and add the water. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat and let boil slowly for 15-20 minutes. Strain and discard the heads and peels. Place the oil in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, and celery and sauté stirring often, until the vegetables are very soft, about 45 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, peppers, herbs, sugar, and shrimp stock and return to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, This is your Creole sauce; it can be prepared 1 or 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator (I find the sauce is even better after sitting a couple of days in the refrigerator). When you are ready to serve, return the sauce to a simmer and add the shrimp. Cook until they turn pink, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the green onions and parsley and let cook for 1 minute more. Serve on flat plates over beds of rice. SHRIMP AND HAM OR TASSO JAMBALAYA: Prepare Shrimp Creole as above, but add about a pound of cubed ham and a 4-ounce can of tomato sauce to the finished sauce and simmer 45 minutes more. Meanwhile, boil or steam 2-3 cups raw rice. Finish the sauce (which will be your jambalaya base) by adding the shrimp, green onions, and parsley as above. (If you are using leftover Shrimp Creole, remove the shrimp and reheat the sauce, add the ham and tomato sauce, and proceed as above. Return the shrimp to the pan at the end of cooking.) Place the hot, cooked rice in a large bowl, pour the jambalaya base over, mix well, and serve. You can also prepare this dish with sausage instead of ham.

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