We especially loved the way Chef Johnston served his Shrimp Creole over crispy polenta, and duplicated that feature on ours. Since we served our dish as an entrée, we used slightly larger shrimp and ladled a bit more creole into the bowl...
We reviewed several recipes for Shrimp Creole, but liked the combination of ingredients in Emeril's version the best. We doubled the recipe (with the exception of the shrimp), omitted the Puppy Drum (small redfish), and made some very slight modifications.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Shrimp Creole-Smothered Puppy Drum
Serves 8-10 as an entrée
4 tablespoons bacon grease (from about 6 slices of thick bacon)4 tablespoons flour
2 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
4 bay leaves
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups finely chopped, peeled, seeded tomatoes
1 20 oz. can chopped tomatoes with the juice
3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
4 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
4 cups cold shrimp stock or fish stock
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Crispy Polenta, as an accompaniment (prepare the polenta per package directions, spread in a buttered baking dish, about 1 inch deep, and refrigerate)
1/2 cup chopped green onions, green tops only, garnish
In a large Dutch oven, heat the bacon grease over medium heat. Add the flour, and stir constantly with a heavy wooden spoon until a light brown roux forms, about 6 minutes.
Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper and cook over medium heat, until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, red pepper, and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to color, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, lemon zest, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens , 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the shrimp and parsley, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just cooked through and pink, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Add the white wine and cream and gently stir to incorporate. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.
Cut the refrigerated polenta into circles with a 4 inch cutter and saute in peanut oil until lightly brown and crispy.
Place a polenta circle in the center of a bowl or plate and spoon the Shrimp Creole over and around it. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.
Due to the long list of ingredients, it's best to do all your chopping and measuring before getting started
Making the roux
The trinity - Onions, celery and bell pepper
Garlic, salt, red pepper, and bay leaves
Tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, lemon zest, Worcestershire, and hot sauce
Shrimp stock added and simmering
And for dessert, Carmen indulged us with her Bourbon Pecan Pie! After dinner and dessert, we retired to the living room, in front of the fire, and watched Iron Chef America's Super Chef Battle, featuring Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali vs. Bobby Flay and White House Executive Chef Comeford. What a great evening!