Well, that was a lot of fun. Been hankering for something rich, spicy and would use some of the awesome chile peppers this season has produced. This last Saturday’s farmer’s market was absolutely filled with fresh chile peppers and ‘maters. There were so many I expected the Honey Guy to have them as well, no kidding.
Before I left work on Friday I checked out Chuck Taggart’s Gumbo Pages. After a little perusal I landed this recipe for Shrimp Creole. I’ve never been a big fan of dealing with shrimps. Why? Cause they just too tedious, that’s why. Sure I could take his suggestion of a chicken substitute, yet no. I wanted something a little heartier, like spicy pork sausage. Gee, I was going to visit Fatted Calf Saturday morning, maybe they had some pork sausage?
If you take a moment and go have a look at Chuck’s recipe you’ll notice quite a list of ingredients. The instructions are only maybe 3 sentances. I carefully read each ingredient and made a mental note of what I had and what I didn’t have. Why write anything down? Don’t we all know what’s in our pantry and produce drawer? Sure we do, I know I did.
I came home with all my goodies and realized I forgot the poblano chilies. Dang, should have written that down. So Tiny E and I ran around the corner to the Mexican market for those. It was at this point I decided that maybe I should print out the recipe and take inventory. Not that I was going out shopping again, but wanted to see if I could make this fly or just start the grill and go another direction. Dang, and I really thought I had this one.
Here’s the list of ingredients with my notes interspersed.
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
Not sure what brown onions are, so I used a few small sweet yellow ones, a red one and some torpedo onions.
1 green bell pepper, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1 yellow bell pepper, small dice
2 poblano chiles, small dice
Roast over fire, install to brown bag for 10 minutes, peel skin off. No running water, lose flavors.
6 ribs celery
DOH, no celery. What a doof.
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts shrimp stock
Good chicken broff.
6 cups crushed tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, run them through a food mill)
Dangit chuck, canned maters don’t have a measurement in cups. Try 42 ounces.
3 6-ounce cans tomato paste
Yuck, I kept mine to 2.
1 quart ketchup
Yeah, no. I gave about 4 hard squeezes, but that’s enough of that.
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
Dang, I thought for sure I had this. Nope.
1/2 teaspoon molasses
Oh, my, ghod. How could I be out of molasses? Oh, riiight. Sigh. Instead I just doubled the white & brown sugar.
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
Read pork sausage here with two sliced chicken breasts.
Is your head spinning yet? Mine sure is. But again, if you can get through all the ingredients, the process is easy. Just sweat the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic in a large soup type pot (take note of the amount of broth and maters).
See? Easy peasy.
And there we have it, a huge pot of stuuuf. Simmer for 2 hours. I did it with the top off, but you could leave the top on and get a thinner type consistency. The original recipe had you simmering for less than an hour. This makes sense for the ingredients and shrimip. But the sausage needed to go a bit longer, the poblanos needed a nice cooking and we weren’t ready for dinner yet. So, it went for 2 hours.
Note: Skim the fat and foam that rises. One probably doesn’t have to do that with shrimp, but this is pork sausage we’re talking about here.
Check out the really cool maple tasting spoon J. Lee gifted me. It’s over a foot long and holds a good amount of liquid, very pretty.
Oh, and I forgot the parsley too. That was supposed to garnish the dinner plate along with everything else. As you can most likely see, I don’t adhere to recipes that well. I feel good about that, makes me smile. Especially since the meal totally didn’t suck.
Both Mama and I have been eating off this for 2 dinners worth. It’s apparently good enough to come back for seconds. This right here is a good sign. That being said, I think this dish would really shine if seafood were used. I mean, take a look at all the tomatoes and lemon juice that’s used. That’s fer seafood, foo. Still good though.
“E” is not Tiny! Let’s get that Straight!
“E” will be taller than you and all your relatives who rode in!
I concur with your recipe and ingredient proportions for this “Creole” sauce. Interestingly, lemon juice, sugar and a few other things you mention herein, are quite compatible with many meats, veggies and condiments.
I am glad you had the “Courage” to “Substitute” porky boy for shrimps. I do agree with you about shrimps…Lordy, Lordy, what time eaters they are!
Wow! You have proven a kind of cross reference theory!
I made shrimp, andouille, and chicken gumbo the other night. I’ll get a post up this afternoon or tomorrow. But how could you forget celery? Repeat after me: Creole Holy Trinity, Creole Holy Trinity, Creole Holy Trinity…
Thanks and we most certainly did chow down, yes.
I know man! But you should have seen my mind, I could SEE the celery in the crisper. I just KNEW it was there! I mean, we always have celery, always. It’s like garlic & onions, always have. Nope.
I did Chuck’s gumbo a handful of years ago, it’s on Meathenge somewheres. Man that was good stuff!
Hey there. I like Chuck’s recipes – I made his gumbo z’herbes a couple of times – that’s a LOT of greens in that. But I agree with ditching the ketchup and lets be honest – I have never ever followed a recipe 100% exactamente. It sounds like you hit the nail right on with your substitutions though.
Totally agree, Mr. Taggart’s ways and means is good. Although, I have to say there are many times you have to read between the lines. It isn’t a complete tomb, good though.