Shrimp Creole

"This recipe comes from my sous Chef, Billi Brigtsen," says Christopher Sanchez, executive chef of Black Eyed Susans in Harvey Cedars, LBI. "Billi was born and raised in the Big Easy, so he naturally has the heart and soul of creole cooking. Billi says the secret is to cook the vegetables slowly and not to rush the building of flavors. I agree, and so do many of Black Eyed Susans's guests."

Ingredients:

2 cups spicy sausage (removed from casings)
2 cups medium dice poblano peppers
2 cups medium dice celery
2 cups medium dice yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons creole seasoning (recipe follows, or use Old Bay seasoning)
2 cups good canned tomatoes
4 cups shrimp stock (recipe follows)
1 bunch scallion chopped
1 bunch chopped parsley
12 jumbo shrimp cleaned and deveined,  reserving shells for stock
4 cups cooked grits (recipe follows)

Preparation:

In wide cooking pot, heat 2 T blended oil over medium heat and brown the sausage, breaking up the pieces as it cooks. Remove any excessive amount of fat, leaving in about 3 tablespoons. 

Add poblanos, celery and onions.  Mix well and cover, setting flame to low/medium heat. The objective here is to cook the vegetables to a soft translucent state without browning them.

When vegetables are soft, stir in salt, garlic and creole seasoning. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add shrimp stock and slowly reduce till sauce becomes thick, about 15-20 minutes. Finish with chopped scallion. As with most sauces, the flavors  will develop even more if made the day before.

Season the shrimp with salt, and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Grill both sides of shrimp until done, 6-8 minutes total. To serve, spoon 2 tablespoons of grits into a bowl.  Arrange shrimp on grits and spoon 2 tablespoons of creole sauce on top. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Black Eyed Susans Shrimp Creole seasoning:

6 cloves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon dill seed
1 teaspoon chili flake
4 allspice berries
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2  teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Place all ingredients in a spice grinder.  May be made in bulk and stored in dry cool container.

Shrimp stock:

3 cup shrimp shells
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cup water
1 teaspoon canola oil
In a 4 quart pot, heat oil until hot, add shrimp shells and quickly saute till shells turn pink.  Add herbs and spices and cold water to cover, bring up to a boil then turn heat to down and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain and discard solids, reserving stock.

Grits:

4 cups water
2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup white grits
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter

Preparation:

In 2 quart pot, bring water,salt, pepper, chili flakes, thyme to boil.  Add the grits in a steady stream while mixing with small whisk or wooden spoon.  Turn heat down to a simmer ad cook for 5 minutes until grits become soft and creamy.  Fold in butter and milk.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.  Reserve warm.

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