Emeril's Shrimp Stew
We told you last week about the awesome opportunity we’ve gotten to participate in Emeril’s Cooking Party. Basically we’re going to try out a whole bunch of the recipes from Emeril’s new cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders, and we’re going to fill you in on all the yummy details. And there will be prizes. Stay tuned for that!
We chose Emeril’s Cajun Shrimp Stew for our first recipe from the new cookbook (available for preorder here). First things first, you start by making a delicious shrimp stock with the peels and heads from the shrimp you’ll be using for the stew. This means no cheating and buying the pre-peeled shrimp on ice at the fish counter unless you can convince them to also sell you the peels. Nope, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and dig into those guys. But, like most of you from southeast Louisiana, I’m not squeamish about peeling shrimp so it was no biggie. Plus generally you’ll save a little on the price of the little guys if you do the dirty work yourself. And give yourself some time to prepare the recipe because from start to finish it took several hours, but it was certainly worth it. By the time $1.25 came home from work the whole house smelled delicious.
Here’s the recipe for the Rich Shrimp Stock:
1 to 1 ½ pounds shrimp shells and heads
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
14 cups water (you may even need more than that!)
1 large onion, unpeeled, roughly chopped
½ cup roughly chopped celery (you can see from the pics that I barely chopped it at all)
2 small carrots, roughly chopped (I used 2 handfuls of baby carrots, not chopped)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs fresh parsley
- Rinse the shells and heads in a large colander under cold water and allow to drain.
- In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shells are pink and fragrant. Add the water and all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that comes to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook at a slow simmer until the stock is flavorful, 45-60 minutes.
- Strain the stock through a sieve or colander into a large heatproof bowl (That part is really important…one time I made chicken stock and at the very end of the whole process I poured it through my colander into, yep, you guessed it, the kitchen sink…right down the drain. I ended up with a bunch of mushy veggies and chicken bits and no stock. Don’t do that!)
Saute the shrimp shells in a little bit of olive oil.
Add in vegetables and herbs and simmer away
Strained and full of flavor
Once you’ve got the stock settled, you’re going to make a beautiful, thick, rich roux. There is something about making a roux that always reminds me of the holidays. Probably because my mom always makes turkey and andouille gumbo after Thanksgiving, but it’s also the painstaking process of stirring and stirring until you get the color just right that reminds me that something special is in the works. For this roux, you want it to come out just slightly darker than peanut butter.
Here’s the recipe for Cajun Shrimp Stew:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups finely chopped onion
¼ cup minced garlic (about 12!! cloves)
10 cups Rich Shrimp Stock
2 bay leaves
1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon cayenne (I only used half a teaspoon and the dish was PLENTY spicy for us)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
3 large baking potatoes (2 ½ to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 pounds small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped green onion, green part only
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Steamed long-grain white rice, for serving
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the flour. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until a medium roux is formed (it should look a bit darker than peanut butter), about 10 minutes. (If the roux begins to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and take your time—it is important that the roux not be burned at all or the stew will have a bitter taste.) As soon as the roux is the right color, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, little by little, and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Add the bay leaves, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, and 4 teaspoons of the salt and reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the floury taste is gone, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful, 30 to 40 minutes longer. (Add a bit of water or chicken broth to thin the gravy should
the stew get too thick during the cook time. The sauce is meant to be thick and rich but not pasty.) Toss the shrimp with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir the shrimp, green onion, and parsley into the stew and continue to cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the stew in shallow bowls over hot white rice.
Saute the onions with the finished roux
Ready for the hot tub
The tasty finished product.
The end result was a delicious, thick stew with amazing spice and flavor. I love fall and I can absolutely see myself cuddled up with $1.25 and a bowl of this goodness as the weather turns a little colder. For early September it’s a little heavy, but we’ll muscle through (read: we’ve already had it for two meals in a row and I’m planning on taking it to work for lunch too!)
Need I say more?
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