Traditional New Orleans Creole Shrimp Stew is made with a brown roux and tomato sauce/paste, giving it a reddish orange appearance and a truly unique and delicious taste. Shrimp is the most traditional seafood used in this dish but crawfish, lump crabmeat or scallops can also be used.
Cook a pot of white rice, drain, rinse once with cold water to stop cooking process and set aside.
In large saucepan or medium stockpot, over medium heat, make a medium brown roux with 2 T. butter & flour, stirring constantly. (See Note below)
***If you can find Roux in a jar at the grocery store, use that to make this quick and easy.***
Once roux reaches color slightly darker than peanut butter, reduce heat to medium low and add onion, green onion, garlic, celery, parsley to the roux and stir very frequently until vegetables are tender. I like to keep mine in the roux mixture for 15-20 minutes. Vegetables will start to blend with roux to make a paste - that's when it's ready for the next step.
Add tomato paste and sauce; stir to blend in with seasoning mixture and reduce heat to lowest setting. Let flavors blend, stirring frequently for 10 minutes.
Begin adding stock as needed, stirring constantly to keep smooth. As it heats up and thickens add more stock to reach a medium soup consistency. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, but the longer you simmer it, the better it gets. Keep heat on low and stir frequently. If sauce starts to get too thick add a little stock or water.
Add creole seasoning and taste - add salt, pepper & adjust seasonings as needed.
Add the raw shrimp and cook for 10 minutes until shrimp are completely cooked and start to curl up. If using pre-cooked crawfish or lump crabmeat add that about 5 minutes before you're ready to eat and heat through. Taste again and adjust seasonings because the shrimp will absorb some of the salt from the sauce.
Serve in deep bowl over white rice and french bread. Garnish with chopped fresh basil if desired.
*NOTE: You can make a roux in a 4 cup glass measuring cup in the microwave. Combine butter and flour, and nuke on high at 30 second intervals, stirring after each. Cook until desired color. I like to stop my roux at the peanut butter color stage.
*TIP: DON'T throw away those shrimp heads and peels. Freeze them in a little water and save until you have enough to make shrimp stock.
*OPTIONS: You can substitute shrimp with crawfish tails, lump crabmeat and/or scallops