|Simplicity is what makes up a Cajun Shrimp Stew - a simple light roux, onion, sweet bell pepper and a few seasonings is all there is to it!|
Cajun Shrimp StewCajun food kinda reminds me sometimes of Mexican food. No, I haven't lost my mind. What I mean is a reference to how the same basic ingredients are often used and simply the application or process within the recipe and presentation differ. To me Shrimp Stew is like that.
What exactly sets it apart from gumbo? Well, in truth, although "rules" have relaxed on how to make it, gumbo should typically include okra, or at least gumbo filé - the ground leaf of the sassafras tree - both used, along with a roux, as thickeners. Gumbo uses a deep, rich roux, but as roux cooks, it loses it's thickening power, and that's where okra or gumbo filé comes in. I personally have been known to use both myself!
While shrimp stew is similar to gumbo, it's also different. My shrimp stew doesn't use okra, or gumbo filé, and has a faster cooking, and thus lighter colored and far thicker roux. Sort of like a seafood version of what we know as a beef stew, and that's certainly not gumbo!
Like gumbo, some shrimp stew recipes have some form of tomato in them - whole, diced or even just a bit of paste. All of my seafood gumbo recipes contain a bit of tomato, but for the stew I don't use them. I know some folks would disagree with me on both sides of that, and I ain't sayin' I'm right or wrong y'all, never would I say that, so include tomatoes if you like. In fact, add in whatever you like to make it your own.
Whatever you call it, it's pretty much the same process as gumbo to be honest. It starts with a roux, veggies are added in, and shrimp stock, easily made with the heads and shells of the raw shrimp. If you are using already peeled, frozen shrimp, simply substitute a commercial seafood, chicken or vegetable stock/broth, or just plain water. Simmered for a bit before adding in the raw shrimp - for this stew I use small shrimp - then finished with a bit of parsley and sliced green onion, this makes an easy and mighty fine supper with a little less time commitment than a full blown gumbo. Hope you enjoy giving it a try!
Recipe: Cajun Shrimp Stew©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 50 min | Yield: About 4 servings
- 2 pounds of small raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3/4 cup of canola or vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 1/4 cup of chopped green bell pepper
- 4 cups of shrimp stock or water, warmed
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 4 turns of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (likeSlap Ya Mama), or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay, optional
- Pinch of thyme
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley, reserve some for garnish
- 1/4 cup of sliced green onion, reserve some for garnish
- Hot cooked rice
Peel and devein shrimp, pat dry, press a paper towel down on top of them and refrigerate. Heat oil over medium high heat in a stockpot or cast iron Dutch oven, stir in the flour and cook and stir until the color of peanut butter, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and pepper; cook and stir until softened. Slowly stir in the stock or water, a little at a time, bring mixture up to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Add the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, thyme and shrimp; simmer for another 10 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. Stir in the parsley and green onion; taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with additional parsley and green onion if desired, serve over hot cooked rice, with hot buttered French bread and a side salad.
Cook's Note: Makes about 4 servings. Use a medium shrimp and double the base to increase serving size. May also substitute commercial seafood, chicken or vegetable stock or broth.
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