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Ella Brennan’s Shrimp Creole

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Ella Brennan’s Shrimp Creole ~  a classic Creole/Cajun recipe from the heart of the South!

Ella Brennan is synonymous with fine southern cooking, but she wasn’t born into privilege; she started from the ground up working odd jobs at her brother’s restaurant as a teenager during the Depression.  She didn’t stop until she and her family owned 12 award winning eating establishments across the south, among them the famous Commander’s Palace in New Orleans.  She is credited with bringing ‘haute’ or ‘nouvelle’ Creole cuisine into the spotlight and elevating it to a national prominence.  The Commander’s Palace became a training ground for many of the city’s best chefs, and  over the course of 65 years Ella Brennan and her restaurants have come to epitomize old style southern hospitality and down home comfort.

The family packaged the Creole mystique and pushed it into the American mainstream. ‘Bananas Foster’ was invented during Miss Ella’s reign at Brennan’s; so was ‘Breakfast at Brennan’s’, the prototypical American brunch. Paul Prudhomme got his start at Commander’s Palace. The Brennans preserved a bastion of civility, where good eating is de rigueur, as much as telling long, vivid stories.*

I’m not all that familiar with southern cooking, so I thought this would be a good one to have under my belt.  You can make it vegetarian with rice and beans,  or use it with chicken, sausage, or seafood.  It’s native shrimp season here so I added the tiny wild caught native shrimp and served it over rice.

The dish starts like most Creole dishes with sauteing the holy trinity: onions, bell peppers and celery in plenty of butter.

Lots of tomatoes, paprika, Worcestershire, and 3 kinds of pepper give it a deep red color and a snappy taste.

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3.34 from 6 votes

Shrimp Creole


  • 1/2 cup 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2. cups green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups celery chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1 cup tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and cleaned
  • 4 cups cooked rice


  • Melt butter in a large saucepan and cook the bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, and Italian seasoning and cook an additional 3 minutes.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, tomato juice, tomatoes, Worcestershire, salt, black, cayenne and white pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • In a small bowl, blend the cornstarch with 4 tablespoons water until smooth. Gradually add the cornstarch to the mixture, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.
  • Add the shrimp to the sauce and cook just until the shrimp turns opaque.
  • Serve over rice and sprinkle with parsley.

Note:  I didn’t thicken mine with the cornstarch because I prefer a thinner texture.  I also added several dashes of Louisiana hot sauce for a little kick.  You can make the sauce ahead, but don’t add the shrimp until just before you are ready to eat.



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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    February 12, 2012 at 2:16 am

    I love shrimp creole, especially when it is done right – this looks right!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    February 11, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Never done any creole cooking – but always loved the taste of southern flavours. This looks great!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I’ve yet to make a satisfactory creole sauce. I happen to have a whole bunch of shrimp from the summer waiting to be used – and this is it! You did Ella proud!

  • Reply
    Veronica Gantley
    February 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Such drool worthy photos. I will bet that tasted fantastic. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    I’ve bookmarked this for future reference. I can already see myself making bucketloads of these to store and just adding whatever meat I feel like at the moment. Thanks for undertaking this and sharing, Sue! 😀

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    What fabulous pictures. The recipe is a treasure, as are you, and I’ll be trying it very soon. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    From the Kitchen
    February 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    When I directed a cooking school in Charleston, S.C., I had an instructor who did a jambalaya, crawfish pie (with a few crawfish “crawling” out of the pastry vents) and filet gumbo class. It was a big hit! Your recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it–maybe for Mardi Gras?

    I’m also enjoying getting to know Ms Brennan.


  • Reply
    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits
    February 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Oh man, that looks so yummy! My brother makes very good shrimp creole and I can count on eating it at least once a year, but I’m going to bookmark this one for when I want it more than once.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I adored the Sullivan’s Island Shrimp Bog a couple of weeks ago, but this looks divine. I still have some shrimp; I’ll try it. Thanks for great pics.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    This creole looks fantastic!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Perfect choice for this week’s game changer, Sue! It looks fabulous.

  • Reply
    Heather @girlichef.com
    February 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Mmmm…looks so tasty! Would love a big plate of this for lunch today!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

    This Creole epitomizes Southern cuisine.