Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cajun Shrimp Stew

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 Stew

Cajun 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!

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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 (like
  •    Slap 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.

Cajun Chicken Stew: Grill or pan fry in butter and oil 1 large sized boneless, skinless chicken breast until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Shred and set aside. Continue recipe as above, except omit the Old Bay. Return chicken to skillet at the end to warm through.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on July 19, 2011
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  1. Since I am not a big okra fan, this sounds just perfect!

  2. Yum. Will have to try this one out. I love all things Cajun ; )

  3. Mary the picture of stew sent my tongue into drooling overdrive. I am huge fan of cajun food.

  4. This sounds fab. One question? Do you use 3/4 cup oil or 1/4 cup? Oh, and I love okra.

  5. Thanks y'all - hope you try it!

    Hi Sylvia! It's a roux of equal parts oil and flour so the 3/4 cup of oil is correct.

  6. this looks sooooo good! I am definitely bookmarking this blog for kitchen inspiration. Going to make this tomorrow. Thanks!

  7. poboybread@aol.comMay 9, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Slap Ya Mama is way too salty. Try Frere Jean's Cajun or Seafood Seasonings(Seafood contains dried ground shrimp for even more flavor). Frere Jean products are SALT-Free, which means you can adjust the the seasoning and the salt separately.

    1. I truly don't find that to be true! Slap Ya Mama happens to be my personal favorite and what I use most often, which is why I mention it in my recipes here on the site. We use it like all purpose seasoning at my house & a lot of the readers here also love that brand.

      There are times where I do use my own salt and plain cayenne, especially when a dish needs a bigger kick, sometimes I add in some garlic powder if I don't use fresh garlic, but when using SYM to lightly flavor a dish like this one, I don't find it overly salty at all, though yes, that should be taken into consideration with other sources of sodium in a recipe since it does contain salt. I do understand that some folks are more salt sensitive than me though, and although I don't recognize that brand, I appreciate you sharing your preferred brand.

    2. Love love love Tony's Chachere's Seasoning on everything. My son lives in Chicago and he was so excited when they were finally able to buy it there. Slap Ya Mama would be my next choice.

    3. I use SYM the most because it's my favorite, but I have several in the pantry, including Tony's!

    4. Anyone ever use Bootsie's seasoning? It does not have cayenne or hot pepper in it so it is good for everyday use.

    5. I haven't tried it but I will have to look for that!

  8. They dont have shrimp soup here. Is there a substitute i can use

    1. If you don't have fresh, shell-on shrimp to make a homemade seafood stock, Kitchen Basics has a great commercial seafood stock available. You can find it at most stores and even Walmart down here. If that isn't available at your local market, I noted in the "Cook's Notes" that you may also substitute a good commercial chicken or vegetable stock/broth in place of the seafood stock. I use chicken. Hope that helps!

  9. This Cajun Shrimp Stew is WONDERFUL! Be sure to use the heads and shells for the shrimp stock if you can. Like Mary, I am lucky to live on the Gulf Coast, where head-on shrimp is easy to find. Mary's Shrimp Stock recipe will give you more than the 4 cups of stock needed for this recipe. Don't be tempted to increase the amount of stock. I lightened up on the Cajun seasoning and Old Bay just my preference. This "stew" is light and brothy, a nice change from a heavier Gumbo. Enjoy! Marianne in Alabama


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