Shrimp Creole


Southern Chef & Cooking Instructor Bonnie Ward Strauss shares her Fat Tuesday dish! For more information on Bonnie, CLICK HERE.


  • 3½ lbs large shrimp heads-on or 2 lbs heads-off
  • 2½ cups shrimp stock, in all:
  • 1 medium onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 1 large clove garlic, unpeeled and quartered
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2½ - 3 quarts water
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (or ¼ cup traditional chicken fat, pork lard, or beef fat)
  • 2½ cup finely chopped onions, in all
  • 1¾ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1½ cups finely chopped green bell peppers
  • 4 Tblsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ -1½ tsp white pepper, to your taste
  • ½ - 1 tsp ground red pepper (preferably cayenne), to your taste
  • ½ - ¾ tsp ground black pepper, to your taste
  • ½ - 1½ tsp Tabasco sauce, to your taste
  • 1 Tblsp dried thyme leaf
  • 1½ tsp dried sweet basil leaves
  • 3 cups finely chopped peeled tomatoes (preferably Creole)
  • 1½ cups canned tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • To serve:
  • 5 cups hot cooked white long-grained rice
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leafed parsley for garnish

Preparation of shrimp stock

Rinse and peel shrimp; refrigerate until needed. Use heads and shells to make a basic shrimp stock, as follows. Start with cold water. Place stock ingredients in a stock-pot or large saucepan with enough cold water to cover all ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, then gently simmer, ideally at least 4 hours, preferably 8 hours. Replenish the water as needed to keep about 1 quart of liquid in the pan. The pot may be uncovered, or with a lid set on it askew. Strain, cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: If you are short on time, using stock simmered only 20-30 minutes is better than using just water.


Heat the butter or other fat over medium-high heat in a 4 qt saucepan until melted. Add 1 cup onions and cook over high heat 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until onions are a rich brown color but not burned, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the remaining 1½ cups onions, the celery, bell peppers and butter. Cook over high heat until the bell peppers and celery begin to get tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, bay leaf, salt and peppers; stir well. Then add the Tabasco, thyme, basil, and ½ cup of stock. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes to allow seasonings to marry and vegetables to caramelize further, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom well.

Add the chopped tomatoes. Turn heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom. Stir in the tomato sauce and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining 2 cups stock and the sugar. Continue simmering sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove bay leaf. Cool and refrigerate if made the day before. Or, if serving immediately, on very low heat add the peeled shrimp tails and simmer covered just until the shrimp turn pink and plump, about 5 minutes. To serve, center ½ cup mounded rice on plate and spoon 1 cup of shrimp Creole around or atop the rice. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley.