Something interesting happened during the first lock-down in California. Unlike other lock-downs that have followed, during that first one Hubby worked from home and Kiddo was temporarily out of work. As you can imagine, the Event Industry came to an immediate girding halt.
Weddings, graduations, celebrations of any kind were either canceled or postponed. The need for tents is the only thing that kept us afloat. Tents for screening centers in parking lots was in high demand. Eventually tents became necessary for employee break rooms to allow social distancing for those able to return to work, and tents for outdoor dining when dining restrictions were lessened.
Early on, Hubby and I started looking for things to watch on TV other than the news, because the news was unsettling and not necessarily accurate. That’s when we discovered NCIS New Orleans in reruns. As a person very much interested in food, I could not help but notice how often King (the lead agent aka Scott Bakula) was in the kitchen cooking up something that I swear I could smell right through the TV screen. While we’ve always enjoyed New Orleans cuisine for Mardi Gras, for me Cajun cooking became an obsession. It’s the perfect marriage in our house. Heat for my guys and French influences for me. Yeah, can’t get enough of the delicious Bayou cooking.
If I had things my way, we’d be eating New Orleans inspired dishes every other day. Yum!
Shrimp Creole over White Rice
1 lb large Shrimp
1/2 large Yellow Onion
2 Celery Ribs
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
4 Garlic Cloves
1 teaspoon Thyme
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1/4 cup White Wine
1 (28 oz) can Diced Tomatoes
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 Bay Leaf
2 dashes Hot Sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup Green Onions, garnish
Clean, devein and peel shrimp, removing tails. Keep chilled until ready to cook.
Dice onion, celery and bell pepper, set aside. Peel and mince garlic, set aside. Strip thyme from stems, set aside.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat, add the onions, celery and peppers, season with salt and cook until they are tender, about 6 minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme and tomato paste and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Add the wine to deglaze the pan.
Add the diced tomatoes with juices, chicken stock, bay leaf, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer; uncovered, until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the sauce simmers, slice green onions and set aside until ready to garnish. Cook white rice, keep warm until ready to serve.
Once the sauce has thickened, add the shrimp and simmer until cooked, about 3 minutes per side or until pink and cooked through.
1-1/2 cups White Rice
Pinch Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon Butter
Rinse the rice until water runs clear. Add rice to the pot, then add water, a pinch of salt and dot the butter on top.
Lock the lid in place, select rice setting, white rice for 12 minutes. Press start. Cooker will pressurize, then cook for 12 minutes.
Let valve release naturally with cooker on “warm” for 5 minutes. Turn cooker off, open release valve. Once steam is gone, open and fluff the rice.
To serve, mold rice in a small sauce bowl. Place a shallow soup bowl over rice bowl, invert and lift small bowl. Repeat with each serving. Ladle shrimp around the mounded rice. Garnish with green onions.