My husband and I have a group of friends that we cook with a few times a year. The first time we cooked together we honored Julia Child. We have also cooked an Italian feast, and we spent one night grilling Bobby Flay’s recipes.
This time we decided to celebrate Mardi Gras by cooking a Cajun feast. It was sooo good. I don’t know when I have eaten so much food. We had Cajun popcorn, corn dogs with Andouille sausage, BBQ shrimp, pork roast, okra in a cheese sauce, oyster stuffing, seafood gumbo, black bean relish, Hurricanes, and King cake.
This group loves to cook, and we have a great time celebrating food and friendship. For the past two meals, we have included the kids, who all get along very well.
I have to say that this meal has to be one of the best meals we have ever had. The Cajun popcorn was perfectly cooked – love seafood, and the BBQ shrimp was cooked perfectly and the spice combination was perfect. Paul Prudhomme’s recipes are easy to follow and very well explained. I don’t think I have ever cooked shrimp as well before. I shouldn’t say that I cooked it; my husband actually did the cooking of the shrimp.
The gumbo had tons of seafood in it – did I say I loved seafood? Gumbo is one of those things that I look for at restaurants – I am always checking out gumbo when we go to Memphis. The recipe for the gumbo came from Emeril, as well as the recipe for the popcorn.
Following is a recipe for BBQ shrimp. From Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen
2 dozen large shrimp with heads and shells – I used very large shrimp with no heads.
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp dried thyme leaves
½ tsp dried rosemary leaves – crushed
¼ tsp dried oregano leaves
¼ lb – 1 stick – plus 5 tbsp unsalted butter, in all
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup shrimp stock – or seafood stock
¼ cup beer – room temperature
Rinse the shrimp in cold water and drain well. Then pinch off and discard the portion on the head from the eyes forward (including the eyes, but not the protruding long spine above the eyes). Leave as much of the head attached to the body as possible.
Serve immediately in bowls with lots of French bread on the side, or on a platter with cooked rice mounded in the middle and the shrimp and sauce surrounding it.
**The reason the recipe calls for shaking the pan, is to keep the sauce together. “A certain percentage of oil is released when butter is melted; shaking the pan in a back and forth motion and the addition of stock to the butter keep the sauce from separating and having an oily texture – stirring doesn’t produce the same effect.”
In case you are wondering, the kids are drinking root beer. It is a treat for them!