Mid-Century Recipe: Shrimp Creole Redux

Shrimp Creole photo: JParadisi

     As a  child, shrimp creole was my favorite meal, and my mother would make it for dinner after she got home from work on my birthday. When I was old enough to read the recipe, she taught me how to make it, standing at the stove next to her. The other day I found the recipe, scrawled in my childish cursive on an old recipe card. Things have changed in cooking since the 1960’s and ’70’s, but  I still enjoy my childhood favorite.  Here is the original recipe. Below it, I’ve included an adaptation (pictured), which  I made for dinner last week.  

Shrimp Creole (Mom’s mid-century version)

1/4 cup oil or shortening  

1/4 cup flour  

4 cloves minced garlic  

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper  

2 8-oz cans tomato sauce  

1 1/2 tsp salt  

1/2 tsp black pepper  

1 1/2 lbs raw shelled and deveined shrimp (fresh or frozen)  

3 cups hot cooked rice  

     Heat oil or shortening at medium heat in a large skillet; add flour, stirring constantly until smooth and golden brown. Add garlic, celery, and green pepper; cook until tender. Add tomato sauce and seasoning. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring often. Add shrimp and simmer 15 to 25 minutes more. Serve in rice ring, or over mound. Makes six servings.  

 Shrimp Creole (my adaptation, pictured above)

2 Tbsp olive oil  

1/2 cup diced celery  

4 cloves garlic, minced  

1/2 cup chopped green pepper (bell pepper is traditional, but I used diced, canned jalapeno instead)  

2 6 -oz cans tomato paste  

2 cups water (adjust to desired consistency of the sauce)  

salt to taste  

fresh black pepper to taste  

1 to 1 1/2 lbs raw shelled and deveined shrimp (fresh or frozen)  

3 cups hot cooked rice  

     Heat oil in large skillet. Saute garlic, celery, and green pepper until tender. Add both cans of tomato paste. Stir til smooth and add water until sauce is the desired consistency (it will thicken some as it cooks. 2 cups were fine when I made it). Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. Turn heat to medium high, add raw shrimp, stir and cook until shrimp are pink and curled. Serve over rice. Makes about six servings.