Whooooooeeeee! This here is some good eatin'! (Try NOT reading that with a Cajun accent — it can't be done.)

My wife and I are big fans of spicy food and had the chance a little over a year ago to take a trip to New Orleans. Our first order of business was to get as much authentic creole cuisine as we could. We had jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, gumbo, and muffuletta sandwiches. Since that trip, we try to recreate a few of those dishes when we have time (some involve quite a bit of prep and a couple hours of cooking time so all the flavor mesh together nicely).

One of the easier recipes we've been able to replicate at home is for Cajun Shrimp Creole which I adjusted slightly to add a bit more spice and sausage, because, well...I like smoked sausage. It should be noted that total prep and cooking time is around an hour and a half so you may be better off saving this for a weekend meal when you have more time. Here's what you'll need:

  • 1/2 vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (you can usually find it this way at the grocery store's seafood counter)
  • 1/2 pound of smoked or Andouille sausage
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley or 1 Tablespoon dry
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning*
  • Red Tabasco sauce**
  • 2 (8-ounce cans) of tomato sauce

*I prefer Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning. You can substitute regular salt to keep the spice level low.

**Add as much or as little as you can handle, or eliminate it altogether.

Like nearly any Cajun dish, you need to start by making a roux. Heat the oil over medium-low heat and add the flour. Mix until the flour is completely dissolved and the roux is a light brown color.

Add the shrimp and cook for three minutes. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper, and parsley and saute for two minutes. Bring the heat to medium and begin slowly adding the water while stirring constantly. Once you've mixed the water in, add the remaining ingredients, then bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and let simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve over steamed rice and enjoy!