Cook the Book: Shrimp Creole

Cook the Book: Shrimp Creole

The Shrimp Creole recipe that follows is that of the late Austin Leslie, whose notable career is briefly chronicled in John T. Edge's Southern Belly: The Ultimate Food Lover's Companion to the South.

Leslie began cooking at the D. H. Holmes Department Store on Canal Street in New Orleans, bounced around to various local kitchens, and eventually landed at Chez Helene, the neighborhood restaurant that inspired CBS's short-lived sitcom Frank's Place.

Leslie was an icon of New Orleans cuisine, was known as the "Godfather of Fried Chicken," and received raves from patrons and food writers alike for dishes such as Oysters Rockefeller and Fried Chicken with Persillade. Sadly, he died soon after being rescued from his attic after becoming trapped there during Hurricane Katrina.

His legend and recipes live on after him.


  • 1/4 cup bacon drippings
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (about 2)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups dry red or Burgundy wine
  • 1 cup water or shrimp stock
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • Cooked rice, for serving


  1. 1.

    Heat the bacon drippings in a large saucepan over medium heat. Blend in the flour, and cook slowly, stirring until the bacon drippings and flour foam. Cook, stirring gently, but constantly until the roux is rich dark brown, t 8 to 20 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Add the onions, shallots, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the flavors are well combined, about 15 minutes. Add bay leaves, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, wine, water or shrimp stock, sugar, salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

  3. 3.

    Add shrimp and cook just until the shrimp is pink but still tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add parsley and stir to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately on cooked rice.

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