John Besh’s Shrimp Creole

Ditte Isager
  • Yield: 12-15 servings


5pounds jumbo Louisiana or wild American shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass
1/2cup olive oil
3medium onions, diced
10cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1stalk celery, diced
1 bell pepper, red, green, or yellow, seeded and diced
5pounds overripe Brandywine or other heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4teaspoon ground allspice
1tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
leaves from 2 branches fresh basil, chopped
leaves from 1 sprig fresh mint, chopped
6-8 cups cooked white rice


  1. Put the shrimp into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, then mix in the lemongrass. Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a large deep skillet over moderate heat. Add the shrimp, stirring and tossing them with a spatula. Sauté until they turn pink, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside while you make the sauce.
  2. Into the same skillet with the oil and shrimp juices, put the remaining ¼ cup oil and the onions, garlic, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and when the sauce comes to a simmer add the bay leaf, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp back to the skillet along with the basil and mint. Cook for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. If the sauce tastes too tart, add a little sugar to balance the flavor. Remove the bay leaf. Serve over steamed Louisiana white rice.

Reprinted with permission from My New Orleans by John Besh (Andrews McMeel Publishing

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