Shrimp Etouffee I
In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, add Baklouti or extra virgin olive oil of your choice.
Add the flour, stir it to combine well, and then babysit it. Continuously, stir the flour to make a roux - this can take up to 10 minutes and needs your constant attention lest the flour burn. Stir the roux over medium heat until it reaches a deep caramel brown color.
Add all the vegetables and garlic to the roux, and saute until the vegetables become soft, approximately 5-7 minutes.
Add the tomato paste to the mixture and stir cooking for another minute. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and stock. Whisk constantly over medium until the mixture becomes smooth and begins to simmer. Turn down the heat to low, taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Cook partially covered over low heat, keeping the pot at a simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for approximately 5 more minutes.
Serve immediately over steamed white rice with sliced green onions and more Baklouti for drizzling.
**Disclaimer - this recipe is designed to have a spicy kick. If you still want some of the taste of the Baklouti but desire something a bit more mild, go with 1/4 cup Baklouti and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil of your choice.
Serves 6-8 (with leftovers as the sauce gets even better the next day)