Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cajun Shrimp and Sausage

When my brothers and sister and I were growing up in Queens, NY we would often visit Aunt Nancy in The City. Nancy had a great job at the New York Times, was very sophisticated, was a "foodie" even in the 60's and 70's and had cable TV!! Me and my wild siblings would go into her East Side apartment and examine every antique, every magazine and book and piece of art. We'd go into her walk in closet and examine her shoes and try on her fur coats and fancy scarves. Come to think of it we still do all that when we visit Aunt Nancy! Nancy would often make us this great dish, I am sure it came from either Gourmet magazine or the New York Times or a from a cookbook published by NYT. I think she called it Creole Shrimp. Nancy had and I am sure she still has, this gorgeous red enameled cast iron Danish covered pot, that she cooked and served this dish in. I sure wish I had that pot. I have the next best though, a bright red Le Creuset dutch oven that I cooked my rendition of Aunt Nancy's creole shrimp.

A few notes on ingredients. I prefer Wild gulf white Shrimp (prawns) over tiger Prawns. I just don't like the taste of farmed tiger prawns, but love the sweetness of wild Gulf White Shrimp. I never eat prawns or seafood stews or pastas in a restaurant because they will inevitably use farmed tiger prawns. If I do see Wild Gulf White Shrimp on the menu I will usually order them. They seem to be much more available these days here on the West Coast than in the past. East Coast often has great shrimp. And when I say shrimp I mean prawns. I never heard of prawns until I moved to CA. So in this recipe I mean the larger shrimp, or prawns. Not bay shrimp, the tiny ones.

THe sausage I used was Turkey Andouille Sausage from Garrett Farms. It was from my local natural food store. You can use pork sausage also. And any spicy cajun stlye sausage will work. You can also leave the sausage out altogether, like Nancy did.

In a dutch oven, Melt 2-3 tablespoons butter with a little olive oil. Add 1 chopped yellow onion, 1 diced celery stalk and 1 chopped red bell pepper. Sweat over low heat till softtened. Add 1 to 3 tsp cajun spice depending on how hot you want it. See my recipe for blackened spice here. Season with salt.
Chop the andouille sausage (I used a package of 4) into 3/4 inch pieces and add to pot. Saute a bit and then add 1 can peeled tomatoes that you crushed with your hands or chopped. (I used a 16 ounce can - if you have a 28 ounce maybe only add 3/4's of the can. If you like it more saucy, go ahead and add the whole thing.)
Cover and simmer on low till sauce has reduced and thickened. Add your clean and peeled shrimp and simmer till cooked through, stirring occasionally. Check your seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve over buttered white rice.

Livy and Henry with Livy's friend Ashi at dinner. 2 Thumbs up from all!

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