This recipe for Creole Shrimp Casserole (originally Shrimp Bake) was a favorite in my house in the early 1980s. It was quick and simple for a weeknight’s dinner, but also a dish I would serve to company. Casseroles were very popular years ago because they were great for busy parents and perfect for entertaining. They could be prepared ahead of time and baked right before serving, but, unfortunately, many of them had mostly processed ingredients. In this revised recipe, I’ve achieved great flavor and gotten rid of the processed foods (except for a can of tomatoes). You’ll love the combination of ingredients and you can spice it up to your own taste.
The original recipe for this dish calls for canned mushrooms, a lot of butter, and wild rice prepared from an Uncle Ben’s box mix. The challenge was to keep the flavor, but cut out the rice mix and canned mushrooms along with with reducing the sodium and fat. I also cut back on the green pepper and added more chili powder.
The changes I’ve made create a fresher tasting and healthier dish. I cook the wild rice in homemade or organic chicken broth rather than water so it’s aromatic on its own. If you like a spicier dish, add a little more chili powder or you could spice things up even more with a hefty pinch of cayenne. Another great addition would be cooked Andouille sausage for an amped-up Creole dish. Serve with a hot sauce (like Tabasco) to really heat things up.
- 2 cups cooked wild rice blend (* Prepared from a wild rice mix and cooked in homemade chicken stock or organic chicken broth - see note below)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped green pepper
- 1-8 ounce package white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (wild-caught local shrimp is preferable)
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (or more to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly grease or spray a 11x7 inch casserole (or oval) dish and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, green pepper and mushrooms. Saute until vegetables begin to cook, but are not translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, cook one more minute and then remove from the heat and place mixture into a large bowl.
- Dry shrimp with a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the shrimp and cook just until the shrimp begin to turn pink. This will take just a minute or two. Quickly remove them from the skillet and add to the vegetable mixture. * Be sure not to overcook the shrimp as they will cook longer when the casserole is baked.
- Add the cooked rice, the can of tomatoes and chili powder to the mixture in the bowl. Toss to mix everything together well. Taste for seasoning (remember the melted butter that will top the casserole is salted) and then add the parsley. Stir again to mix thoroughly..
- Place the mixture in the casserole and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Raise heat to 325 degrees F. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. If you like a more saucy casserole, bake it for less time. Serve immediately.
- * Note on the rice - Lundberg makes a Wild Rice mix, but there are several brands available. You want the crunchy texture of the wild rice in the casserole. Cook according to package directions to make 2 cups cooked rice. Use homemade chicken stock or organic chicken broth to cook the rice. Undercook the rice by a few minutes until it is al dente since the rice will cook again in the casserole.
- * Cook’s Note: If your rice seems soft, lay it out on a cookie sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree oven for a couple of minutes to dry the rice.