January 2, 2012

Cajun Gravy

I dog-eared this recipe when reading the November issue of Bon Appétit because it sounded like Stud’s idea meal.  So one night we both had off from school/life (a rarity around here these days), Stud and I hit the kitchen and whipped this up for dinner.  We managed to make it on a weeknight, but it was a rush to get it on the table by a reasonable hour.  I would recommend saving this one for the weekend when there is more time to prep and get things ready.  The recipe in Bon Appétit actually calls for crawfish tails, but this is Kentucky and I had shrimp in the freezer, so we used shrimp instead and it was delicious!

Cajun Gravy
1 lb bacon, cut into small slices
6 T. flour
½ c. finely chopped onion, green pepper, and celery
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
3 T. garlic
1 T. thyme
1 T. Tony Chachere’s spice mix
½ t. cayenne
3 c. chicken broth
1 lb. uncooked shrimp (tails removed), coarsely chopped
Salt, Pepper

This can all be made in a large (about 10”) cast iron skillet, probably Stud’s favorite part about this recipe.  He has a weird obsession with seasoning our cast iron skillet.  Anyways…. Cook the bacon until crisp and pour off all but 6 T. of the bacon fat.  Set the skillet over medium heat and add the flour to the bacon fat to form a roux.  Reduce the heat to low and cook the roux, whisking constantly, until the roux is a shade darker than peanut butter, about ten minutes.  Stud and I took turns stirring, you have to do it constantly to prevent the roux from burning, and it gets tiring!  Add the onion, pepper, jalapeño, and garlic (I actually pureed mine in the food processor) to the skillet and cook until everything is soft, about twenty minutes.  Increase the heat to high and add the bacon, spices, and broth and simmer until thickened, about twenty minutes.  Add in the shrimp and cook for about three minutes, until they are opaque. 

Stud and I served this over rice with broccoli and Stud actually ate the broccoli since he could smother it in gravy!!  And since we are obsessed with gumbo, this was right up our ally, but with shrimp and bacon instead of sausage and turkey!  Adding some variety into the menu rotation!

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