It’s Sunday! I’m in a dancin’ mood. Perhaps it’s the Zac Brown currently blaring in the background. Perhaps it’s this dish. Probably a combo of the two.
Anyone else into kitchen dance parties? Or is it just me and Allison? You should give it a try.
Moving on through Central America, this dish comes from Belize by way of my Belizean co-worker Flour. When I asked her for a recipe suggestion, she brought in her family’s cookbook that, as you can see, is heavily loved. A good sign, methinks.
A little bit about Belize. The CIA website explains that Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline. The British and Spanish fought over the region in the 17th and 18th centuries until it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. In 1981, Belize formally became an independent nation.
According to the forward Flour’s cookbook, the cuisine of Belize heavily borrows from seemingly anyone that has ever set foot there: Mayans, Mexicans, Lebanese, Mennonites, Chinese and most notably, the Creoles (who were, in turn, influenced by both African slaves and European colonists). It’s from this last group that I draw inspiration today.
It’s been a long while since I made a shrimp dish, so I decided on shrimp creole. Despite spending over three years living in New Orleans and working at a restaurant, no less, I’ve never been blown away, taken aback, socks-knocked-off-impressed by New Orleans food. Please don’t hate. I obviously have nothing against spice or flavor or pizzaz, but besides those powdered sugar crack-like beignets from Café du Monde or frankly anything from Jacques-Imo’s, I never quite bonded with the food scene there. However, this looked good and, but after reading the recipe, I asked myself if there was some mistake since there was nary a spice in the ingredient list. It actually looked more like an Italian shrimp scampi, so consulting the interwebs, I cobbled together a more authentic looking (and, I suspect, tasting) shrimp creole and was quite pleased.
This would be a great, quick, easy and different weeknight dinner. No excuses to eat egg tacos three nights in a row. Who does that, anyway (shame face…)?
Anyway, with Mardi Gras around the corner, something to think about when planning your Fat Tuesday fare.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
- 1- 1/2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 TB olive oil
- ½ large yellow onion, diced into small pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small green pepper, cored, seeded and diced into pieces the same size as the onion
- 1 cup diced tomatoes (you can use fresh, I used ½ a can)
- ¾ cup of white wine (I used Savignon Blanc)
- 2 TB fresh basil, cut into ribbons
- 2 TB fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ TB Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 TB hot sauce
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 TB heavy cream (optional, eyeball it)
- White or brown rice, to accompany
- Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the onions, garlic and green pepper, bay leaf and spices. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any bits. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes until some of the liquid has been reduced.
- Once the liquid has reduced, add the shrimp and cover and let cook about 5-7 minutes until the shrimp are all cooked (this shouldn't take long). Stir in the cream and add the basil and parsley at the end, right before you serve it.
- Bacon would be so good in this. So would some andouille sausage.
Side note: Look at this. DORITO BREAD. Yam sent it to me sort of serious sort of as a joke because she knows that Doritos rank high on the list of my top ten foods ever. Nacho cheese, please. I don’t want any of your Cool Ranch-ness. Nothing cool about it. Anyway, I love Doritos and I love bread so this, to me, might be God’s perfect food. I’m not going to make it for the sake of my arteries, but if you want to make it for me, I will gladly accept it.