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When I tried this stew, I hadn’t been home in more than two weeks. I live on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and I evacuated to my parents’ house in southern Virginia to wait out Hurricane Irene. If any of you think Irene was a “dud” or was “over-hyped,” visit the Hurricane Irene Aftermath section of the Island Free Press website and take a look at some of the photos there. Our access road was destroyed and I had to take a two hour ferry ride to get home. I wasn’t even allowed to go home for more than a week.
So, I hadn’t been doing much cooking. When I got my hands on the Cajun Shrimp Stew recipe from Emeril Lagasse’s new cookbook Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, I decided to make it for Mom & Dad. Actually, I made it for Mom and the Grillmaster. Dad played in a golf tournament that day and ate dinner with his buddies. Let’s see … a burger or a new Emeril recipe? Hmmm. Dad definitely made the wrong call.
I followed the recipe pretty carefully – my roux looked a shade darker than peanut butter and I was ready to add the onions. I had two cups on the counter: one contained the onions and one contained ice. Guess which one I grabbed? Yep, I threw those ice cubes right into my beautiful roux! It seized up a little bit, but I kept on whisking and everything turned out okay.
Mom’s not a big fan of spicy hot foods, so I cut the cayenne back to ¼ tsp and the Grillmaster and I added more to our individual servings. I also didn’t plan ahead very well and didn’t have time to make the Rich Shrimp Stock; I used chicken stock instead. Next time, I will definitely make the shrimp stock.
If you want your house to smell amazing and you want the people you live with to know you love them, make this stew. The roux base allows you to get your creamy on without adding any dairy products.
This stew is low in Saturated Fat and is a good source of Protein, Vitamin C and Selenium. It is high in Sodium, so you may want to reduce the amount of salt. It’s also a bit high in calories for me; I generally try to stay around 400 calories per meal. I would eat a smaller portion and serve it with a tiny bit of brown rice and a nice big salad to stay on track with my meal plan.
All nutritional information provided below was calculated by Diabetic Foodie using the tools on the nutritiondata.com website. Photo above courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups finely chopped onion
- ¼ cup minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
- 10 cups Rich Shrimp Stock (page 173)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 large baking potatoes (2 ½ to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 pounds small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ¼ cup chopped green onion, green part only
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Steamed long-grain white rice, for serving
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the flour. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until a medium roux is formed (it should look a bit darker than peanut butter), about 10 minutes. (If the roux begins to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and take your time—it is important that the roux not be burned at all or the stew will have a bitter taste.) As soon as the roux is the right color, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, little by little, and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Add the bay leaves, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, and 4 teaspoons of the salt and reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the floury taste is gone, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful, 30 to 40 minutes longer. (Add a bit of water or chicken broth to thin the gravy should the stew get too thick during the cook time. The sauce is meant to be thick and rich but not pasty.)
- Toss the shrimp with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir the shrimp, green onion, and parsley into the stew and continue to cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the stew in shallow bowls over hot white rice.
- 1 to 1 ½ pounds shrimp shells and heads
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 14 cups water
- 1 large onion, unpeeled, roughly chopped (the onion peel deepens the color of the stock)
- ½ cup roughly chopped celery
- 2 small carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 large sprigs fresh parsley
- Rinse the shrimp shells and heads in a large colander under cold running water and allow to drain.
- In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shells are pink and toasty-fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the water and all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that comes to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook at a slow simmer until the stock is flavorful, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heatproof bowl and allow it to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before using. (The stock may also be placed in airtight containers and frozen for up to several months.)
Disclosure: For my participation in the One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party, I received a copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, a set of Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece Flame-Shaped Serving Bowls and a jar of Emeril’s Original Essence. Upon successful completion of the party, I will receive a $50 grocery reimbursement and additional cookbooks by Emeril Lagasse. The top performing blogger, as selected by T-Fal, will also be awarded an Emeril by T-Fal Slow Cooker. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of them and make a purchase, I will receive a tiny fee. Please see my disclosures page for more information.