With its rich shrimp flavor and hard-boiled eggs soaking up all the dark juices, this is a Cajun post-Mardi Gras tradition—a Lenten dish called Shrimp and Egg Stew.
Adeline Landry Gary Fontenot is my mother-in-law’s nanny (godmother). She grew up in Estherwood, Louisiana and moved to Jennings on West Division Street in the 1960s. My wife Roxanne recalls her childhood summers spent at Nanny’s and walking down the street every day to Cormier’s Grocery Store (now Boudin King) for a Cajun snack–a link of boudin and an ice-cold Coca-Cola.
Rural Cajun farms in Acadiana are inland from the Gulf, and back in those days, fresh shrimp was hard to come by, and when you were fortunate enough to get a bag of fresh Vermilion Bay shrimp, the black pot came out immediately. Catholic Cajun families were mostly large (Adeline had five children), so to extend the protein in the pot, the cook would gather up eggs from the laying hens and boil them up. Soaking boiled eggs in a black pot of roux-infused stock is a tradition in gumbos and stews that is seen sparingly these days, but I still see it done on plate-lunch counters as well as old-school Cajun home cooking.
This is not gumbo, but I will admit it is gumbo-esque. There is a big difference: This recipe has a stew-like thickness. The intensity of this Shrimp and Egg Stew comes from a variety of sources: I use shrimp stock made from the shells and heads of shrimp that I peel, and I infuse my stock with an extra layer of dark Cajun roux (Rox’s Roux). My wife Roxanne makes a deep, dark, rich Cajun roux that we are now selling in 16-ounce jars; it ensures a consistent and convenient result every time. Watch our video Tastemonials and see what other home cooks think about this Shrimp and Egg Stew recipe and Rox’s Roux.
And another secret flavor weapon is dried shrimp. I buy them by the bagful and see Lee’s brand from Addis, LA in many grocery stores (Adrian’s in Lafayette, for sure) throughout Acadiana. They add a distinctive shrimp flavor to the dish, and they soften in the stock until they are tender and tasty.
Give this Shrimp and Egg Stew a try this Lenten season or any time of the year. It is an excellent way to use your Rox’s Roux for more than just gumbo and astound your friends and family with a culturally significant (and delicious) roots recipe.
- 4 large eggs
- 1 pound (31 to 40-count) Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup diced green onions
- 2 quarts shrimp stock or water
- 6 tablespoons dark Cajun roux, such as Rox’s Roux, plus more if needed
- 1 cup (4-ounce bag) dried shrimp
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- Dash of hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 4 cups cooked long-grain white rice, such as Supreme
- In a large pot with lid, add the eggs. Cover with water and place over high heat. Once the water begins boiling, turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes. Drain and rinse the eggs under cold water until cooled. Peel the eggs and reserve for later use.
- Butterfly the shrimp by slicing vertically along the inside to open up the shrimp. Place them in a bowl topped with ice and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil along with onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, and ½ cup of the green onions and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the stock along with the roux and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and stir until the roux begins to dissolve. Add the dried shrimp along with the boiled eggs and season with Cajun seasoning, a dash of hot sauce, and black pepper.
- Continue cooking on low heat for another 30 minutes, and add more stock (or water) to thin it out if it becomes too thick. Taste the stew and add salt as necessary. Just before serving, add the shrimp and cook until done, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and let everything soak until ready to serve. Serve over white rice and have the remaining green onion tops on the table for garnish.
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