Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Slow cooker shrimp creole

Just typing out that title makes me laugh out loud.  Giggle, in fact.  Because I picture myself watching the bubbly Paula Deen, frying away in her kitchen, looking into the camera and saying it in her signature Southern drawl.  Also, because, as much as I love watching her, I think Matt enjoys her show even more.  Why?  For starters, because everything she makes look sinfully delicious and the way to that boy's heart is certainly through his stomach.  (Thank goodness, because if not, I'd be in trouble.)  But really because he loves her accent and laugh.  He mimics it like a child in the throes of the terrible 2s would.  "Hey y'all" has become one of his favorite phrases.  Hearing her laugh practically has him doubled over in stitches and that makes me smile just thinking about it.  If I'm ever lucky enough to meet her (Savannah is on my list of places to visit), the first words out of my mouth will inevitably be, "My boyfriend loves you!"  What 63-year-old woman wouldn't love to hear that?  Ha!

Say what you will about her use of butter, cream cheese, and her built-in fryer, but everything in moderation, people.  (And hey, I've even adapted a few by swapping out less favorable ingredients with great success.) She's still alive and kickin', right?  And she's so happy.  I think that's why I love her show the most -- it's impossible not to smile while taking in a few minutes of her kitchen artistry.  She loves food and wants everyone else to love it, too!  So many of her recipes have won me over because I watched her make them on Food Network first.

This recipe was no different than the others before it that excited me and yet so different when I looked at the ingredient list.  It sounded absolutely hearty and delicious and [drum roll] healthy!  Surprise -- it's that and so much more.  Traditionally, shrimp creole is a Louisiana dish of both Spanish and French origin consisting of shrimp in a thick mixture of tomatoes, onions, celery, peppers, and hot sauce.  The whole shebang (apparently I'm talking like Paula, too) is served over rice, different from a similar dish, jambalaya, that mixes the rice in with the vegetables.  It's spicy and thick and colorful, loaded with vegetables.  The lean shrimp are so tender and, when paired with rice, make a perfectly-rounded meal -- seriously, this dish is a keeper and will most likely be made again within the month.  What are you waiting for, anyway?  Get goin', y'all!

Shrimp Creole
(adapted from Paula Deen)
-serves 4-6

A few notes: Though the crock pot cooking time strays from the typical 8-hour duration, you have a few options.  I was able to run home during my lunch break and throw everything together, head back to work, and dinner was ready when I got home.  If you or a spouse/roommate aren't able to do that, it's not a weekend, and you don't want to wait until 9 o'clock for dinner, try making it at night and storing overnight in the fridge.  It reheats marvelously!!  Just store the rice in a separate container and heat when ready to serve.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (14-ounce) can of peeled tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) can of  tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon hot sauce (or less if you prefer milder tastes)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds frozen cooked shrimp, thawed
2 cups cooked rice, for serving

Preheat crock pot on high.  In a skillet over medium high, heat olive oil.  Add peppers, onions, and celery.  Cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add chili powder and saute until vegetables have begun to caramelize (3 to 4 more minutes).

Remove skillet from heat and carefully pour contents into crock pot.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.  Stir just until combined.  Cover with lid and cook for 3 hours.

Just before serving, toss in the shrimp and stir, cover for 5 more minutes until warmed through.  Serve with warm rice and, ooh, maybe some cornbread.  I'm trying that next time for sure.  Enjoy!

Today is National Eat Outside Day!  (Fine by me as long as it's something cool and refreshing.)


  1. There was a discussion on our community message board regarding crock pots. Please tell me what kind you have so I can relay the info.


  2. This is the model I have:


    There were more high-tech models with timers and a million extra buttons, but I've found this one to be perfect (because, honestly, when you're cooking something for 8-10 hours, what's a few extra minutes each way?). The little warmer is also clutch, good for sauces, mashed potatoes, or anything else to keep hot while the remainder of the meal finishes cooking.

    Hope this helps :)