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Cajun Shrimp Stew
I’ve gotta confess. The way I prepare shrimp stew is actually a lot easier than it probably will be for many of you who follow this recipe. I say that because I’m fortunate enough to live right outside Lafayette, Louisiana, where I can drive to my local Rouses Grocery store and pick up a one-pound bag of shrimp already peeled and ready to use, as well as a jar of excellent Kary’s roux made in my mom’s hometown of Ville Platte. Then I can run over to Fresh Pickin’s and pick up a bag of “seasoning mix” which is a perfect blend of chopped onions, red and green bell peppers, and celery. When you don't have to make the roux, chop the vegetables and peel the shrimp, this dish comes together much more easily, especially if you have a few boiled eggs in your fridge as I often do. Another confession: The measurements shown below are only a guess. I am typing up this recipe a few days after preparing the dish and just estimating from memory. I rarely follow a recipe when cooking and I rarely cook a dish the same way twice. (That’s what makes it fun for me.) Still, I have confidence that if you stick to this script you’ll have an excellent authentic Cajun dish – and one that’s even better the next day as leftovers.
Shrimp Stew Recipe
1 pound small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cajun seasoning (my standby is Tony Chachere’s)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (I like a mix of red and green)
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 cups chicken broth
5 tablespoons roux (make your own or buy at karysroux.com)
1/2 teaspoon salt (if using low-sodium broth you'll need to add more salt)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
Small pinch of thyme
6 hardboiled eggs, peeled
3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Season the shrimp generously with Cajun seasoning and set aside. Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat and then add your chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook until onions are translucent (about 2-3 minutes), stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for about another minute, then pour in about 4 cups of chicken broth. Once this comes to a boil, add your prepared roux and stir until it’s completely dissolved/incorporated. Add the bay leaf, a small pinch of thyme, the salt and pepper, and the potatoes. Reduce heat and let this cook at a very low boil for about 20 minutes, then add the boiled eggs and continue cooking until the potatoes are fork tender (about another 15 minutes). If it gets too thick, add chicken broth, as needed. Stir in the seasoned shrimp and parsley and continue to cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the bay leaf. Serve in shallow bowls over hot white rice with french bread on the side. Tonnère mes chiens c'est bon!
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