3 pounds jumbo (8/10 count) shrimp, shell and head on
1 cup dried shrimp
4 tablespoons bacon fat
4 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups diced onions
2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chopped peeled tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup tomato paste
Dash of hot sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 cups cooked Louisiana long grain white rice, such as Supreme
1 cup diced green onion tops
Remove the shells and heads from the shrimp, leaving the tail on.
To make the shrimp stock, add the heads, along with any shrimp fat and all shells to a pot containing 8 cups of water. Add the dried shrimp to the pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. Strain the shrimp stock discarding the dried shrimp and shells. Continue boiling the stock until you have reduced by half to 4 cups of intense shrimp stock.
In a large cast-iron pot over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of bacon fat and an equal amount of flour. Stir the roux until light brown in color with a nutty aroma. Add the diced onions, celery, and bell pepper to the roux, and continue stirring until the vegetables begin to caramelize and turn brown.
Add the garlic, bay leaf, herbs, spices, and half of the stock. Stir to mix well, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar. Add the tomato paste — it gives the dish a depth of flavor mere tomatoes and sauce will never achieve. Stir and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Check the dish for flavor and thickness. Add more of the reserved shrimp stock to thin it out to a bisque-like consistency. Add hot sauce to your desired spiciness. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
At this point, you have two choices: you can refrigerate and serve later, or you can add the shrimp and continue cooking until the shrimp are just done and not overcooked, about 10 minutes. As the shrimp are cooking, add the butter and stir to create a rich sheen.
It is important to serve this dish immediately since letting the shrimp sit in the hot Creole gravy will render them tough in no time at all.
Serve over a mound of long grain white rice and garnish with green onion tops. Serve hot sauce on the side for extra kick.
Be sure to find fresh jumbo shrimp and juicy, ripe tomatoes — two keys to this dish. If you must, you can use a light roux in a jar which you can buy online.
Recipe by Acadiana Table at /2015/10/12/louisiana-shrimp-creole/