Creole sauce is a hallmark of New Orleans cooking and takes time and a bit of technique to get right. It’s usually mixed with shrimp and served over rice for shrimp Creole, but it can be used to braise anything from green beans to wild game. A good homemade stock and well-made brown roux are essential. Okra isn’t traditional, but I like to add a cupful in with the sautéed vegetables for flavor and thickening. The good news is, except for the final step of sautéing the protein or vegetables, it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to a week or frozen. Once you have this base, you can go in infinite directions.
With a quart of Creole Mother Sauce in the refrigerator, a company-worthy dinner is only minutes away. Heat up the sauce while you cook the rice, toss a salad, and heat a loaf of bread. You can simply drop the shrimp into the simmering sauce, but I like to season the shrimp separately and give them a quick sauté to add a little more caramelization.
This recipe originally appeared in GW Fins' book, "The Deep End of Flavor," and is reproduced here with permission from Gibbs Smith Publishing.
- 1 quart Creole Mother Sauce
- 1/4 Cup chopped green onions
- 2 Pounds 16/20 wild-caught American shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 Teaspoon Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blend Shrimp Magic
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 Cups cooked rice
- chopped fresh parsley
Creole Mother Sauce
- 1/4 Cup canola oil
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 Cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1 Cup onion, diced
- 1/2 Cup celery, diced
- 1 Cup okra, sliced
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 quart shrimp stock
- 1 Tablespoon Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends Shrimp Magic
- 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
Reheat the sauce base over medium heat, if necessary. Stir in the green onions, lower the heat a little, and continue cooking for 4 or 5 more minutes.
Season the peeled shrimp with Shrimp Magic. Heat oil in a large skillet on high. Then add the shrimp and sauté for a few seconds on each side, and ladle the sauce into the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn the heat off, and set aside.
To serve, put a big scoop of rice in the center of a large warmed soup bowl. Ladle about 1 cup of the Shrimp Creole over the rice and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Creole Mother Sauce
To make the roux, heat the oil on high in a large, heavy-bottom pot. Whisk the flour into the hot oil and continue to whisk constantly. Use a large spoon to scrape the corners of the skillet the whisk won’t reach so that it cooks evenly.
When the color is approaching that of dark brown sugar, which should be 2 or 3 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bell pepper, onion, celery, okra, garlic, and bay leaf. The roux color will advance one shade. Cover and cook on very low heat for 15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes with juice, mashing them up with your hands into small pieces, and then add the stock. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a ladle or spoon to release any crusted bits. Season with the Shrimp Magic and salt.
Bring this to a simmer and cook on low boil for about an hour to reduce by about 40 percent. Skim off the fat by tilting the pan and allowing the grease to collect along the sides so it can easily be removed with a large spoon. Remove the bay leaf.
This can be made several days in advance and refrigerated, or several months ahead and frozen.