Shrimp Creole

1 1/2 lb. fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined, reserving shells
a piece of cheesecloth approximately 8- by 8-inches
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 large green or red pepper or half of each, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or Cajun Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 14-oz. can chopped tomatoes or 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup Chicken or Fish Stock or 3/4 cup hot water mixed with 2 teaspoons chicken or fish base or bouillon
2 bay leaves
2 cups fresh or frozen, sliced okra – optional (don’t use canned)
hot pepper or Tabasco sauce to taste – optional
cooking spray – optional
6 cups hot steamed rice

1. After shelling shrimp, tie half of the shells up into a tight little bundle with cheesecloth and set aside.

2. Lightly spray a 4-quart stock pot or flame proof casserole with cooking spray if desired and preheat on medium for 2 to 3 minutes. Sauté onion, garlic, bell peppers and celery together, until the onion and peppers are softened, about 6 minutes.

3. Mix thyme, garlic powder, cayenne or Cajun seasoning, oregano, salt, white pepper, black pepper and flour together in a small bowl. Stir into vegetable mixture and cook until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. If mixture becomes too dry, add a little water, stock or wine.

4. Stir wine, tomatoes, bouillon or stock, okra, bay leaves and hot-pepper sauce into vegetable mixture. Add bouquet garni of shrimp shells; reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove bay leaves and bouquet garni. Stir in shrimp and simmer until shrimp turn bright pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve over hot rice.

Yield: 6 servings at approximately 360 calories; 2.4 grams total fat; 0.4 gram saturated fat; 173 milligrams cholesterol; 53 grams carbohydrate; 2.8 grams dietary fiber; 30 grams protein; 725 milligrams sodium.

Serving Suggestion: Because of varying tastes, it’s probably wise to serve the hot-pepper sauce as a condiment, rather than adding it to the Creole base.

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