Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gumbo Casserole with Garlic Creamed Shrimp

A few Christmases ago when I was hugely pregnant and nesting, I ransacked my mother's collection of cookbooks in hopes of finding some delicious treats to whip up for the holidays. (Translation: I needed chocolate, bad.) I came across this recipe for "Gumbo Casserole with Garlic Creamed Shrimp" in her 2006 edition of "Christmas with Southern Living." This dish is delicious and relatively simple to make, but be forewarned that the ingredient list is a tad lengthy. That said, it is so worth the extra effort.

Note: The full recipe serves 8, so as usual I halved it to feed my family of three. Since the recipe isn't posted on Southern Living's site (I suppose since it ran in a special publication?), I've included the full, 8-serving recipe at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

Let's meet our starting lineup.

Left to right: Celery, green onions, whipping cream, spaghetti (hard to see), thyme, chicken broth, salt, pepper, oregano, medium shrimp, green bell pepper, flour/bacon drippings/oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning, onion.

Three things before we really get rolling with the food prep...

1.) If you're lazy like me and bought frozen, pre-cooked shrimp, go ahead and thaw those puppies out under some cool tap water.

You'll need a tablespoon or two of bacon drippings. (Do I have your attention now?) Nuke a couple strips of bacon in the microwave for a couple minutes. Do not--I repeat do not--eat both slices of cooked bacon once they've rendered their delicious drippings.

3.) Boil some salted water. You've got noodles to cook.

Okay, now that your kitchen is a frenzy of water running/microwave nuking/pot boilin' activity, let's commence with the actual food prep. (Oh yeah, don't forget to set your oven to 350 degrees, too.)

Once your pre-cooked shrimp are thawed (or, you know, you've hand-peeled and deveined your fresh market shrimp, blah blah blah whatever), throw it in a bowl with some Tony Chachere's and put it in the fridge to chill out. Ha.

Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to make a roux. It consists of bacon drippings, oil and flour. Don't panic. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 20-25 minutes. (My halved version usually takes 15 minutes or so.)

Chop up some onion. (See, look--veggies! Told ya not to panic.)

Chop up some green bell pepper.

Chop up some celery. (I believe they call this the holy trinity, no?)

In the full recipe this would yield 1 cup of veggies; obviously my halved version yielded 1/2 cup.

After several minutes of near-constant whisking, your roux should be the dark brown color of pecan shells. (Southern Living's words, not mine.)

Throw your veggies into the roux, along with some minced garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Throw in some thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Throw in your Tony Chachere'd shrimp, plus some sliced green onions. Cook over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until shrimp are almost done; transfer to a large bowl.

Add chicken broth to skillet, scraping to loosen brown bits.

Add whipping cream. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 6 minutes.

Throw your shrimp and cream sauce into the pot of (cooked, drained) noodles; toss well to combine.

Pour into a lightly greased pan; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is to die for. Please make it. 'Kay thanks 'bye.

Gumbo Casserole with Creamed Garlic Shrimp ("Christmas with Southern Living," 2006)
Serves: 8

2 lbs medium fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups whipping cream
1 lb uncooked spaghetti, broken in half and cooked according to package directions
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

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