This easy shrimp dinnner with okra and tomatoes was inspired by Shrimp Creole, a popular dish in New Orleans. It has Spanish and French origins but has been adapted over the years with influence from Africa and beyond. My husband DJ grew up in New Orleans and has such a love for Creole and Cajun cooking, so I occasionally attempt. I never liked okra because as you well know, it can be slimy. In applications like stews or braises that very aspect can help thicken the sauce without the need for additional thickeners or carbohydrates. Reduce the sauce as much or little as you’d like until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
4 strips uncured bacon, chopped
1 cup vidalia onion, finely minced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
2 teaspoons fresh garlic paste
2 cups pureed tomatoes (I love using Raos sauce for this, even though it’s marinara the flavor is great and it’s keto friendly because of low sugar content)
1 cup sliced okra (frozen or fresh)
1-2 cups seafood or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 lb raw, peeled and deveined shrimp
1 dash hot sauce
Optional garnish: 1/2 cup chopped chives or green onion
Not so optional: Fresh lemon juice to squeeze over before serving
Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon, sauté for 5 minutes until cooked through and rendered. Pour off some of the oil then add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic paste. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, okra, stock, seasoning and paprika then simmer for 15-20 minutes until flavors meld and liquid is slightly reduced. The okra would have thickened the sauce slightly. Add shrimp and cook for 4-5 minutes until they are pink and cooked through. Remove from heat, add hot sauce and chives.
Serve over rice, cauliflower mash or enjoy as is.