- 1/4 cup olive oil (or use 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil for slightly more richness)
- 2 medium brown onions, small dice
- 2 medium red onions, small dice
- 1 green bell pepper, small dice
- 1 red bell pepper, small dice
- 1 yellow bell pepper, small dice
- 2 poblano chilies, small dice
- 6 ribs celery
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 quarts shrimp stock
- 6 cups crushed tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, run them through a food mill)
- 3 6-ounce cans tomato paste
- 1 quart ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning or Tony Chachere's seasoning
- 3 tablespoons Tiger Sauce
- 3 tablespoons Cajun Power Garlic Sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Steen's cane syrup or light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco or Crystal)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 5-8 pounds large, head-on shrimp
- 15 About 15 cups cooked long-grain or converted rice (about 5 cups raw)
To make a simple, quickie shrimp stock, reserve the shells and heads from the peeled shrimp, add to 2 quarts cold water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain thoroughly. But I don't do it this way.
Cook the shrimp under-done, immediately douse in an ice bath but save the water used to cook them in. When the shrimp are cooled peel and remove the heads and put all the shells/heads back into the water used to boil the shrimp. Get it back up to a low simmer and add water if necessary.
Prep all the veggies and save all the bits you normally throw away - the onion peel, the stem and seeds from the bell pepper, the base of the celery. Save it all, and throw it into the stock with the shrimp peels, heads and water. This is going to become your stock.
Go ahead and juice the lemon and throw the lemon peels into the stock. Then season with salt, pepper, and any additional cajun seasoning that strikes your fancy (paprika, white pepper, cayenne or a blend like Tony Cachere's but watch out for too much salt if you use a blend).
Let the stock sit and simmer as long as you can. Add a little water, or a little white wine as you need to maintain enough liquid to cover the rest of the things in the pot. When you are ready to add the stock to the creole, be sure to strain it carefully. Anything that's not liquid should go in trash, not the creole.
Sweat the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic in oil and/or butter in a large covered pot until tender, about 15 minutes.
Add all of the remaining ingredients except the shrimp. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the sauce for at least 30 minutes.
Add the shrimp. Simmer an additional 15 minutes.
To serve, heap about 1 cup of rice in the center of the plate, and ladle a generous amount of the sauce around it. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Make sure you have some hot sauce on the table.