Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cajun Shrimp Stew: One-Pot Wonders

For some reason, when I think of cooking shrimp in a sauce, I think of tomatoes. The Cajun Shrimp Stew in Emeril Lagasse's book, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders has no tomatoes. But it does have potatoes. Verrrrry interesting.

I always like trying recipes that are different from what I usually make.

Several other bloggers involved in the One-Pot Blogger party sponsored by Morrow books have already made the same recipe - for good reason. It's one of the recipes we're allowed to publish. But every one of them said they liked it. Even more reason for me to be interested.

I made a couple teeny changes to the recipe. First, I didn't make the shrimp stock. I had some seafood stock in the freezer, so I didn't need to make any. And the shrimp I bought were a little larger than the "medium" shrimp called for in the recipe. So, to make them available in every bite of stew, I cut them in half, lengthwise. they cooked very quickly - almost as soon as they hit the hot stew. And they curled up in pretty shapes.

Served over rice, this made a nice dinner. Like all the recipes in the book, the serving sizes are large. Or maybe we just don't eat as much as the average person. But that's okay. Leftovers are good. Despite the finickyness of shrimp, this reheated well.

My husband is starting to look forward to the new recipes in this book, and even more so now that I've let him choose the next few. I was going to be all strategic about picking recipes, but then I decided that maybe it makes mores sense to simply make recipes that we most want to eat. I mean, after all, that's how I'd pick recipes from any other cookbook.

So, you want to make your very own shrimp stew? Here you go:

Cajun Shrimp Stew

1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups finely chopped onion
¼ cup minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
10 cups Rich Shrimp Stock (page 173)
2 bay leaves
1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
3 large baking potatoes (2 ½ to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 pounds small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped green onion, green part only
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Steamed long-grain white rice, for serving

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the flour. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until a medium roux is formed (it should look a bit darker than peanut butter), about 10 minutes. (If the roux begins to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and take your time—it is important that the roux not be burned at all or the stew will have a bitter taste.)

As soon as the roux is the right color, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, little by little, and bring the sauce to a gentle boil.

Add the bay leaves, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, and 4 teaspoons of the salt and reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the floury taste is gone, 30 to 45 minutes.

Add the potatoes and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful, 30 to 40 minutes longer. (Add a bit of water or chicken broth to thin the gravy should the stew get too thick during the cook time. The sauce is meant to be thick and rich but not pasty.)

Toss the shrimp with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir the shrimp, green onion, and parsley into the stew and continue to cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the bay leaves.

Serve the stew in shallow bowls over hot white rice.
6 to 8 servings

For the recipe for the Rich Shrimp Stock, see the next post

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and serving bowls made by Zak! Yesterday's post has a giveway for that same set of bowls. But that's not all. I'll also have a book to give away soon (stay tuned for that).  

Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.


diabeticFoodie said...

I like that your version is nice and thick. Nice photo!

Donna Currie said...

I have a feeling that the thickness has to do with cooking at high altitude and a dry climate. Water evaporates faster here, even though water boils at a lower temp. But, yeah, I liked the thickness. It was much more stewy than soupy.

TeaLady said...

That looks so delicious. I love shrimp and making shrimp stew is a perfect alternative to etouffee and creole. Lovely.

Pork Belly said...

I doubt the high altitude was the real reason it was so thick. It calls for 1 and 1/2 cup of flower, which is 24 tablespoons, and it has potatoes in it! So not only does Emeril use almost twice as much flour as most white sauce recipes (although whole milk and/or/mixed with cream is usually used in white sauce instead thin liquid like stock/broth), Emeril decided to throw in some extra starch in to really make sure it really fills you up.

This isn't a stew, it's what the Chinese called covered rice (basically the same idea, a very thick stew of stuff used to top rice, similar to a pasta sauce for pasta, but for rice)!

Donna Currie said...

Ah, yes, Pork Belly, there's that. But several other bloggers made the same recipe. Assuming they followed the recipe, theirs should have been just as thick, but I've seen photos of some others, and they're a lot thinner than mine.

Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen said...

Looks great Donna! My whole family loved it and mine was pretty thick too, I forget about the high altitude.

30AEats said...

Yours looks hearty and delicious! Just made mine yesterday! Rainy beach day!

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