Do you know what the BEST recipes are? The ones that are a tradition, that you’ve been enjoying with your family for years or maybe even generations! Those meals, those recipes are the ones that are close to your heart. The ones that when taking the first few bites conjure up all the good good times you have spent with your family: laughing, catching up on life since the last time you were together. You’re sharing a meal together that you all can’t wait to dig into. It’s food that’s made with love and shared with those that are close to you. It’s a tradition that never gets old. It’s the food that helps bring people together.
That’s what this Spicy Sausage and Shrimp Creole is to me! It’s a meal that I have shared with my food loving family once a year for as long as I can remember. With every warming, comforting, saucy bite it made me feel all the good time feels of summer beach vacation with my family. Isn’t food just amazing like that?!
My cousins and aunts and uncles are all spread out among a few states: Texas, South Carolina, and Michigan + Wisconsin (<– my parents) and Iowa (<– ME). All of us have been vacationing for a week during the summer in a house right on the beach since I was little. First it was Alabama for YEARS and then it turned into South Carolina. It doesn’t matter where we go as long as there is a beach to relax on and our family is all there. My uncle started this tradition of making a huge pot of shrimp creole for us to eat during the very first dinner we all share together – start the week off right! It’s a meal that we all look forward to every year and one that we can’t seem to get enough of.
I decided, why wait for it once a year, why not make it at home? I’m not going to lie, I have never made it before and was pretty nervous that I wouldn’t be able to live up to my Uncle’s tried and true recipe. Guess what, I was very pleased with the results and every bite made me so very happy. It made me think of summer time with family, of a time when life is simple and care free.
I got my Uncle’s very large recipe from my mom who had already scaled it down from serving a ton of people (because our crew always wants leftovers for lunch) to a serving for 8 to 10 people. The recipe from my mom called for all the things I expected, spicy, smokey andoullie sausage, onions, garlic, tomato sauce and fire roasted chopped tomatoes, cajun seasoning, bay leaf, crunchy celery, and a bell pepper, and of course the shrimp!! The result is a spicy and smoky red tomato sauce that is thick and adorned with those crunchy veggies and of course the tender shrimp and spicy sausage. When I first tasted the sauce it was missing something, a warming flavor – it’s a subtle taste but I have noticed it’s presence and wondered what it is, never able to put my finger on it. I referred to my notes again and noticed that in the ingredients list was ground cloves with a question mark, I was unsure about it when I wrote the recipe but I decided to add it. I knew immediately that those ground cloves were the exact flavor element the sauce needed, warming and spicy in an unexpected way – Genius! Trust me guys, those spices in there, the cajun seasoning with all of it’s spicy, smoky goodness, and the little bit of chili powder plus the GROUND CLOVES are what make this Spicy Sausage and Shrimp Creole taste so amazing.
I remember my Uncle used to put chicken in the shrimp creole but everyone was so obsessed with the shrimp and sausage that he decided to leave out the chicken and make room for more of the good stuff – sorrryNOTsorry chicken!
Don’t you just LOVE family recipes that have been perfected over the years?!?!
Spicy Sausage and Shrimp Creole is easy to make, comes together in just 40 minutes. Plus it makes 8 to 10 servings, making it a great meal for a crowd. It also freezes really well so it would make a great recipe to add to your meal prep list, if you are a meal prepping rock star! Although Spicy Sausage and Shrimp Creole is great to make during the colder months for a warming, comforting bowl of goodness it is a traditional Southern recipe and most of the time I’ve had it it has been during the end of July. So, I encourage your to give this meal a try during the summer, it might surprise you.
Friends, I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Try serving Spicy Sausage and Shrimp Creole with my Gluten Free Cornbread Drop Biscuits or my Gluten Free Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins for dipping. For other sides my Creamy Coleslaw and my Classic Potato Salad would both help to tame the heat from the dish. OR if you’re making this recipe in the summer and can get your hands on fresh corn my Grilled Corn with Spicy Chipotle Sauce would be divine!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 14 ounces gluten free Andouille sausage, sliced
- 1 onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning* (see notes for recipe)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes, diced
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 to 2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled
- 1½ cups quick cooking brown rice (3 to 4 cups when cooked)
- Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish
- Cook the Sausage: Heat a large skillet with deep sides over medium heat. Heat the oil and add the sausage. Cook until well browned, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to a dish, cover with foil to keep warm and set aside.
- Cook the onion and spices: To the same pan add the onion and a pinch of salt. Saute until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, cajun seasoning, chili powder, and ground cloves. Stir to combine and allow to cook for about 1 minute, or until everything is really fragrant.
- Simmer the liquids: Add the cans of fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken stock, and bay leaf, stir to combine. Turn the heat up to high and allow to boil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced and it is pretty thick. Turn the heat to low. Add the liquid smoke (optional) and salt.
- Cook the rice: Follow your package instructions for cooking the rice, I like using quick cooking rice for this recipe, should take 10 minutes. Once cooked cover and set aside to keep warm until the meal is ready.
- Cook the veggies + shrimp: Add the celery, green pepper, and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is opaque and pink, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the andoullie sausage. Taste and make any adjustments to the flavor or the sauce.
- Assemble and serve: To each bowl dish up some rice and the Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Creole. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
- Store Leftovers: store the rice and creole in separate containers in the fridge for up to 1 week. Reheats nicely and freezes nicely. This meal would be great for meal prepping.
You could use store bought cajun seasoning, but I couldn't find any. Keep in mind that if you use store bought it may have salt and I make my mix salt free, adjust the recipe accordingly. Also, this mix is spicy, if you want it less spicy reduce the cayenne pepper and/or the red pepper flakes to your desired amount. You will have leftover cajun seasoning, it's good on pretty much any meat or eggs or tacos.
Cajun Seasoning recipe adapted from The Domestic Geek