Friday, May 4, 2012

Creamy Cajun Shrimp

I got the idea for this recipe from this shrimp casserole I saw on Pinterest. Now, I am not a fan of most casseroles --for a variety of reasons--but I was intrigued by the shrimp and took a look at the recipe. Just reading the recipe made me sad: It called for small amounts of three different colors of bell peppers, which can be spendy, and using just part of each one can lead to waste; I don't like using canned cream soups, with all of their extra yuck ingredients; I think okra is just plain nasty; following the cooking instructions would give you overcooked, tough shrimp (it says to cook the shrimp until they turn pink (which means they are perfect) and then 15-20 minutes more in the oven. Shrimp sadness); and unless you're adding a lovely crust or biscuit topping, I think cooking something through in a pan, and then cooking it more in the oven is wasteful of time when you're trying to get dinner on the table.

But I loved the idea of saucy, spicy shrimp, and came up with this recipe. It's creamy, spicy, comes together fast, and by adding the shrimp to the sauce right at the end, and only cooking them until they turn pink, your shrimp stay gorgeous, tender, and moist.

Note: You can easily adapt this recipe to use chicken instead of shrimp. Cut 2 pounds of chicken into bite-sized pieces. Heat a little olive oil (or spray your pan with non-stick spray) in the skillet, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides and not pink in the middle. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and cover with foil. Make the sauce and add the chicken at the end to heat through. Voila! Creamy Cajun Chicken.

Creamy Cajun Shrimp
printable recipe

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, 1/4-inch diced (about 1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, 1/4-inch diced
2 medium ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Tony Chachere's original Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and tailed removed
Cooked white rice for serving
Chopped fresh parsley, if desired

1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet. Add the onion, red bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the Tony Chachere's, thyme, and paprika, and cook another 5 minutes.

2. Add the white wine and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the pan. Simmer until the wine is almost gone, 5-8 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted.

3. Add the chicken broth and milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring very often. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer, and cook, stirring often, until thickened (coats the back of a spoon nicely), 5-8 minutes.

4. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, just until the shrimp turn pink, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat immediately. Serve over white rice and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Makes about 8 1-cup servings of the shrimp.
1 cup shrimp and 1/2 cup rice = 8 Weight Watchers Plus Points


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