Corn Bread Crusted Shrimp in Creole Filling  Recipe
Corn Bread Crusted Shrimp in Creole Filling

By Diane Rossen Worthington

One-dish meals are great to serve to a group, especially when they gather to watch award shows, football or basketball games, or other television events. Pasta and vegetable casseroles are usually what I cook when I want a one-dish entree. But this corn-crusted Creole shrimp casserole caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is a Seriously Simple style recipe with its easy cleanup. And, secondly, I spotted it in famed pastry chef Mary Cech's new book Savory Baking. I once tasted an amazing variety of her desserts at a San Francisco restaurant, and I never forget her name or her talent.

Cech says she loves the taste of buttery corn bread and the texture of the filling and the topping, and she recommends eating this dish with soup spoons. For more attractive presentation, she suggests spooning generous portions into pretty rimmed soup bowls or baking portions in individual casserole dishes or crocks.

To save time, make the Creole Filling a day ahead. If you choose this make-ahead tip, make sure to put the cooked shrimp mixture in the casserole dish, wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate. When you're ready to serve, preheat the oven to 375 F. Put the covered casserole on a baking sheet and into the oven to warm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the cornbread topping, spread it over the warm filling, and continue baking until bubbly and golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Enjoy!

Confetti Corn Bread-Crusted Shrimp in Creole Filling

Recipe used with permission from "Savory Baking," by Mary Cech

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Creole Shrimp Filling:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

2 tablespoons flour

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 cup chicken broth

1 bay leaf

8 ounces bay shrimp

Topping:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 eggs at room temperature

1/4 cup peeled and diced mild green chilies, fresh or canned (drained)

1/2 cup corn kernels

1/2 cup canned cream-style corn

2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. To prepare the filling, melt the butter in a large saute pan or skillet over high heat. Add the onion, celery and green bell peppers. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and Creole seasoning, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir constantly, about 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth and bay leaf. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and heat through, about 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and pour the filling into an 8- by 8-inch square or round baking dish. Set aside in a warm area, while preparing the topping.

2. To prepare the topping, preheat the oven to 375 F. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whip on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs one at a time and mix until smooth. Add the green chilies, corn kernels, creamed corn, red and green bell peppers, flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until the mixture forms a soft batter.

3. Carefully dollop the corn bread batter over the filling. Using an offset metal spatula, spread the batter smoothly across the top of the casserole, forming a thin layer. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet in the center of the oven. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. Cut through the corn bread with a small knife. Scoop 6 to 8 generous portions of the filling and the corn bread into large soup bowls or onto plates.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks (click here), including "Seriously Simple Holidays: Recipes and Ideas to Celebrate the Season," and also a James Beard award-winning radio show host.

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Recipes: "Corn Bread Crusted Shrimp in Creole Filling "

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