Monday, October 29, 2012

Cajun Cuisine

Have you ever been to an authentic Cajun cafe?  During my time on the east coast I traveled to various states and was able to go to the deep South and talk with some of the chefs.  My shrimp creole recipe is a traditional Cajun recipe that is not only delicious but is also healthy! 
Add some zydeco music plus your closest friends and you'll be ready to say "Laissez le bon temps rouler!"

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp grapeseed oil*
1 Tbsp flour
1 rib celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped.
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tomatoes diced (alternatively use 14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes, drained)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup Pinot Noir red wine**
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1 whole bay leaf
 1/8 tsp smoked Spanish paprika ***
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 pound shrimp, uncooked peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp scallions, minced
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups cooked rice
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet, stir in flour and cook over low heat stirring until mixture is smooth.  Combine the trinity (celery, onion, bell pepper), and garlic.  Saute 5 minutes.  
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, chicken broth, bay leaf, paprika, basil, oregano,  salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.

Stir in shrimp and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in scallions, parsley and lemon juice. Simmer 1 minute.  Remove bay leaf.

Add 1/2 cup cooked rice into 4 serving bowls.  Top each portion of rice with 2 cups of shrimp creole mixture.

Notes:
*I prefer using grapeseed oil b/c it has a lighter viscosity and a higher smoking point than any other oil.  It will pick up the flavours of your food and won't leave your mouth w/ a coated texture.  Feel free to use olive oil if you wish.

**You absolutely do not want to cheat in this area.  If you don't use wine to cook you may want to find another recipe.   I would suggest the Gallo brand of Pinot Noir as it pairs beautifully with seafood dishes.

***If you can't find the hot spanish paprika, you may substitute smoked chili powder


Oh and for those of you who wonder about that Cajun French phrase it's often pronounced "less-ay lay bon tomp ru-lay" or  "lay-say lay bawn tawmp ru-lay"
Which means "Let the good times roll"  Regardless of how you pronounce it this makes a great meal and is a perfect Mardi Gras dish!

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