The technique for roux here employs a clever shortcut: the flour is added after the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic have already been sautéed in the butter, getting dinner to the table especially fast.
Serves: 4 servings
Total time: 30 minutes
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
180ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp hot sauce, or to taste
1 dried bay leaf
2 tsp shop-bought or homemade Creole seasoning (see tip)
Salt and black pepper
450g prawns, peeled and deveined
1 spring onion, green parts chopped
White rice, for serving
1. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper, and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute.
2. Sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and stir constantly until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and stir and cook for 1 more minute.
3. Pour in the stock and 180ml water. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the hot sauce, bay leaf, Creole seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.
4. Stir in the prawns and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the prawns are cooked through and opaque, about 5 minutes, turning each piece halfway through. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle the spring onions on top. Serve warm over rice.
Tip: To make your own Creole seasoning, combine 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon chilli powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, if desired), ½ teaspoon fine sea salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl and stir together. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
© The New York Times