My south Louisiana shrimp Creole is an easy, authentic take on the classic New Orleans dish, y'all. Seasoned shrimp, set aside while the Cajun trinity veggies and garlic set the main flavor stage. Once the veggies are browned, tomatoes and sauce are added to the skillet, and simmered until they turn a beautiful dark crimson color. Then, the shrimp are added to the pan to release their delectable spices into the gravy as they plump up into sweet and savory scrumptiousness. Yep and yay...
Her Crown Never Needs Fixing, Y'all...
One of the culinary crown jewels of the region, shrimp Creole originated from the Louisiana Creoles, a people of mixed Spanish, French, Native American, and African descent. Using the prevalent Gulf shrimp to create the rich, deep stew-like dish with prominent tomato elements, these cultured city cooks served it with rice on the side, a stark contrast from the presentation of its all-in-one-pot country jambalaya cousins.
My version stays true to the original, with my own added touches playing up the seasoning on the shrimp and making sure that the red gravy is as deep and rich as they come. Indeed.
Sure to please everyone around your table, this easy shrimp Creole recipe cooks in just about one hour.
- Buy raw peeled and deveined shrimp if you can, y'all. It shaves soooo much time off of the prep. And, you won't have to deal with any shells. Don't worry, the flavor is in the method, so you won't miss anything at ALL by buying fresh or even frozen shrimp that are more recipe-friendly. Oh, and you can use up to 1 ¼ pounds of shrimp and still keep the perfect shrimp-to-sauce ratio in the skillet.
- Stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce make this shrimp Creole eponymous. For optimal texture, remove the stewed tomatoes from the can with a fork and cut them into pieces before use. Also, don't discard the juice, cause you really, really want that juice!!
- The citrus brightens the shrimp first, then the whole dish. A little goes a long, long way, so you only need a small to medium-sized lemon to get all of the zest that you need.
- Cajun trinity veggies and garlic build the base of this authentic dish. Take the time you need to brown them evenly so that you can experience this New Orleans shrimp Creole recipe the way that it should be eaten.
- Chicken broth adds a little liquid and flavor to the recipe. I know, I know, you're probably thinking that it should be shrimp stock. I don't, y'all. I think shrimp stock drowns out the delicate flavors of everything else in this dish, and that much more subtle chicken broth allows the true taste and texture of the ingredients to shine through. Fo sho.
- Use a dried bay leaf for best results, as they give much more flavor to the dish than fresh ones.
- I love and use Crystal hot sauce. Any other Louisiana-style hot sauce works, too.
How to Make South Louisiana Shrimp Creole
Begin by seasoning the shrimp with the spices. Set aside.
Now, pour the chopped Cajun trinity veggies with butter or oil into a Dutch oven or enameled cast iron skillet.
When the veggies are browned, add the garlic and cook for just another minute.
Now, add the remaining ingredients, except for the seasoned shrimp, to the skillet.
Finally, when the red gravy cooks down, add the seasoned shrimp. Cook for just a few more minutes til done.
And that's it, y'all!
The first thing you notice about this authentic shrimp Creole is its amazing aroma. It's heavenly, y'all, with alternating citrusy, tomato-y, and spiced-shrimp notes that will straight put you beside yourself.
Then, once you take your first spoonful, you can't believe how much flavor is jam-packed into each itty-bitty bite. Finally, you're overcome with the good kind of silence. Yep. Cause you just can't stop-won't stop until you've finished it all off. And then you're wondering if you should get up and help yourself to seconds before anyone else does. Indeed!!
Share with those whose palates are sharp enough to taste the pure, unadulterated love of culture in each bite of this scrumptious south Louisiana shrimp Creole. Much food love, and see y'all on the yum side...
Store the leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Use a digital thermometer to ensure that the shrimp have reached an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit before removing from heat.
Cut the veggies and season the shrimp the night before. Then, store them covered in the fridge separately. You'll shave a lot of time off of your prep this way and have dinner on the table in no time.
Here are other recipes that have a similar vibe as this one.
Here's what to serve with this shrimp Creole.
NOTE: This recipe was originally published on February 12, 2019, and updated and republished with new photos and content on July 8, 2023.
South Louisiana Shrimp Creole
- 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
For the Shrimp Seasoning
For the South Louisiana Shrimp Creole
- 3 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes, see notes
- 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
- ¼ cup chicken broth (gluten free)
- 1 dried bay leaf
- rice or cauliflower rice for serving
- additional salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste, optional
- Season the shrimp with the lemon zest, paprika, parsley flakes, hot sauce, onion powder, and a bit of salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Brown the Cajun trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery in the oil or butter in an enameled cast iron skillet set atop medium heat.
- When browned, add the garlic and cook for one additional minute.
- Stir the stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, and dried bay leaf into the skillet.
- Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often, or until the sauce turns dark crimson.
- Add the seasoned shrimp to the skillet. Cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often, or until the shrimp turn opaque and are well incorporated into the Creole sauce. Insert a digital thermometer into the shrimp to ensure that the shrimp reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit before removing the skillet from heat.
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