A super old school recipe redone grain and gluten free, my Cajun shrimp balls in tomato gravy is my nostalgic take on one of the best things to ever come out of my Maw Maw's kitchen, y'all. A fresh batch of my best ever red gravy bakes in the oven. The seasoned shrimp and Cajun trinity veggies cook down in the skillet, then are cooled, processed and rolled into balls with eggs, gluten free bread crumbs or almond flour. Finally, the balls are submerged into the red gravy, and roasted til browned, bubbly I-gotta-have-one-more-bite yum deliciousness. Yep and yay...
Oh, To Be Young and on Spain Street Again, Y'all...
My Maw Maw Anna, my Dad's mom, lived on Spain Street in New Orleans. Her house was just blocks away from the edge of the French Quarter. She and my Paw Paw Paul lived upstairs in a large, multi-sectioned home, with other family members living below her in their own private residence.
On Sundays when her three kid's kids were little, she would cook big family dinners and invite us all over. It was one of the best times of the week. We would gather around the table, talking and eating and laughing. And petting her dog Toby, who was usually at someone's feet, begging for a taste of what was above on the table. Oh dear sweet Toby, how I miss you too old boy...
Anyway, sometimes my uncle that lived next door would come over with this family, too. And, at other times, unexpected visitors would show up out of nowhere. We would hear them first, opening and then closing the downstairs door. And then walking up the crickety wooden indoor steps that led up to the small space between Maw Maw's living room and kitchen. And then making their grand, surprise entrance with a skip in their step and a smile lighting up their lips.
It was always another family member or a close friend. Someone who was bringing more laughs, more love, and more excitement to the big kitchen table.
Yes, it was an exciting time for me, y'all. I got to hang out with my cousins whom I loved. And, I also got to hear adult conversations that taught me bits and pieces of the big, bad world around me. Yep.
And the food, y'all, oh the food!! There was soooo much of it. And I could have all that I wanted because there were no rules at Maw Maw's Sunday dinners. Nope. But, you did have to get while the getting was good, especially if Maw Maw made her Cajun shrimp balls with red gravy.
Because this dish really is everything, ya'll!! The browned shrimp balls explode their south Louisiana flavors into your mouth upon each bite. And the red gravy, it's the perfect complement that pulls all of the flavors together, making you beg inside for just one, one more bite!!
While I'm sure that my Maw Maw made her red gravy on the stove, I bake my own version. So, it cuts down a lot of the cooking time while giving the final Louisiana shrimp balls with red gravy flavor a deep, rich taste and texture. It's a win-win, and leisurely labor of love that's bound to help you make your own cherished round-the-table family memories too. Indeed!
How to Make Cajun Shrimp Balls with Tomato Gravy
Start by roasting a batch of my best ever baked red gravy.
Then, season the shrimp and cook them down for just a few minutes in the skillet...
Transfer the cooked shrimp from the skillet to a bowl with a slotted spoon:
And leave the shrimp pan juices exactly where they are:
And cook until browned. Then, add the minced garlic:
And cook down for just 1 more minute before removing from heat:
Now, put the cooled shrimp in the bowl of your food processor:
And pulse for a few seconds until smooth:
Next, pour the processed shrimp, beaten eggs, gluten free bread crumbs or almond flour, and cooled trinity veggies into a large bowl:
Form the Cajun shrimp balls with your hands or a scoop, and lay them right on top of the baked red gravy before popping them into the oven:
And that's it, y'all!!
The first thing you notice is the amazing aromas that escape from your oven.
Then, once you've taken your first bite, your tongue delights in the delicate seasoned shrimp flavors. Then, before you know it, your palate is pleasantly overtaken by the rich baked red gravy flavors. It's a continuous, win-win flavor juxtaposition. And it honestly just gets better and better each forkful.
These Cacjun shrimp balls in tomato gravy are extremely near and dear to my heart, y'all. They're part of my family's story, and it's a great one indeed. I'm pretty confident that you're going to love them just as much as I do.
So, if you make them, please comment below and tell me all about what happens around your table.
Share these Cajun shrimp balls in tomato gravy with those whose presence brings back the very best memories of your heart. Much food love, and see y'all on the yum side...
Cajun Shrimp Balls
- 1 batch Best Ever Red Gravy Recipe
- 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried paprika
- 1 teaspoon Crystal hot sauce
- salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
- 2 to 4 tablespoons oil or butter, or a combination of both
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 cup gluten free bread crumbs or almond flour, see notes
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Prepare the baked red gravy.
- When the red gravy is ready, remove from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
- Season the shrimp with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley flakes, hot sauce and salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
- Add half of the oil or butter to a well-greased cast iron skillet set over medium heat.
- Add the shrimp, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Transfer the shrimp from the skillet to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Do not remove the shrimp pan drippings from the skillet.
- Add the chopped onion, bell pepper and celery to the pan.
- Cover and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic to the skillet, and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Remove skillet from heat.
- Pour the cooled shrimp into the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse for 30 to 45 seconds, or until smooth.
- Pour the pulsed shrimp, beaten eggs, bread crumbs or almond flour and cooled trinity veggies into a large bowl.
- Stir until very well-combined.
- Use your hands or a retractable cookie scoop to make the shrimp balls. (I used my hands and got 16 balls).
- Arrange the shrimp balls over the remaining gravy in the pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven.
- Let cool for a few minutes, then serve with rice, pasta or cauliflower rice.