Why It Works
- The Creole "holy trinity" of onions, celery, and green bell pepper lays the fragrant base of this sauce.
- It's rounded out with some heat (from hot sauce and cayenne), and further flavored with Worcestershire, thyme, and bay leaves.
- Butter gives this sauce a silky finish.
I've never tackled Creole cuisine, so when I decided to throw a Creole and Cajun-influenced barbecue, I needed to start from the ground up and used Creole sauce as my introduction.
It's a fitting choice, since the sauce's base is the Creole "holy trinity"—onions, celery, and green bell peppers. I sautéed the aromatics until they started to lose some volume, then added garlic, tomatoes, and chicken stock, along with some Louisiana hot sauce, Worcestershire, bay leaves, white and cayenne peppers, and dried thyme.
After the sauce simmered for twenty minutes, it was finished with butter—which gave it a nice, slightly thick consistency—parsley, and green onions.
What I had created seemed an embodiment of Creole flavors. The vegetables gave the sauce a great freshness along with complexity that went beyond any other tomato sauce I've ever made before. While the garden flavor started the sauce off, as it settled on the tongue, the spices started to mingle, with the distinct white pepper playing heavily, and the hot sauce and cayenne ending the affair with a slight hit of heat.
This was seriously delicious over some blackened catfish, but it can do so much more as the base of shrimp creole or as a condiment on a po'boy, or spooned over almost any grilled meat.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onions (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup diced celery (about 2 stalks)
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups low-sodium store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Frank's or Crystal), plus more to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, and green peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in tomatoes, stock, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, white pepper, cayenne pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer until sauce slightly thickens, about 20 minutes.
Remove and discard bay leaves. Add butter and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and green onions. Season with salt, pepper, and additional hot sauce to taste. Sauce will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 2g||3%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||5%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||2%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 6mg||28%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|