Thursday, February 16, 2023

Celebrating Mardi Gras at Home...Featuring Mardi Gras BBQ Shrimp #mardigras #shrimp #seafood #celebrateathome

Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras…one final celebration before the Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday. Michael and I love New Orleans food, music, and spirit of celebration…so we love to celebrate Mardi Gras! I typically put on some lively Zydeco music and cook up a special Louisiana-inspired dish to celebrate. My spicy Mardi Gras BBQ Shrimp are perfect for any Mardi Gras celebrations you have planned. The dish is full of the big flavors we love, and it's not at all complicated to make. Contrary to their name, they’re not actually BBQ’ed in the typical Texas sense. Instead, this New Orleans specialty features shrimp simmered in a spicy sauce. I recently found a great version of this dish from one of our favorite restaurants, Brennan’s of Houston. BBQ shrimp definitely delivers on flavor – with a robust sauce that includes lemon, Worcestershire, and spicy Cajun seasoning. A simple salad is all you need for a complete meal.

Mardi Gras BBQ Shrimp
adapted from Brennan’s of Houston
Ingredients (makes 2-3 servings):
  • 1 lb. jumbo (18-20 count) shrimp -- peeled, butterflied, with tails left on
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1/3 cup julienne poblano pepper
  • 1/3 cup julienne red bell pepper
  • ½ cup julienne shallot
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce [NOTE: I use Crystal brand in this dish]
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
For the BBQ sauce base:
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 large lemons, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 TBS Cajun seasoning
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
Step 1: Make the BBQ base. Add the Worcestershire, chicken broth, quartered lemons, garlic cloves, salt & pepper, Cajun seasoning, and bay leaves to a medium saucepan over Med-High heat. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook until mixture reduces by half – approximately 20 minutes. Strain the reduced mixture through a mesh sieve into a measuring cup – you should have approximately ¾ cup of sauce. Discard solids.
Step 2: Heat the butter in a medium cast iron skillet over Med-High heat until bubbly. Lower heat to Medium. Add the poblano pepper, red bell pepper, shallot, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for approximately 1 minute. Add shrimp in an even layer and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Step 3: Reduce heat to Med-Low. Add reserved sauce, half and half, and hot sauce. Stir to combine the sauce with the shrimp. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes -- until the shrimp are just cooked through. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sliced green onion. If you're not watching your carb intake, serve with toasted French bread for dipping in the savory sauce.
This delicious shrimp dish is a celebration all on its own! While the BBQ base reduces on the stove, you have a pocket of time to peel and butterfly the shrimp...and make a nice salad. The only thing left to do before serving is to open a bottle of wine, put on some Louisiana Zydeco music, and laissez les bon temps rouler!

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