Shrimp Etouffee

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 dried bay leaf
2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade Creole seasoning (see Tip)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 scallion, green parts chopped
White rice, for serving

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper, and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute.

Sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and stir constantly until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and stir and cook for 1 more minute.

Pour in the stock and 3/4 cup water. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the hot sauce, bay leaf, Creole seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the shrimp is cooked through and opaque, about 5 minutes, turning each piece halfway through. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle the scallions on top. Serve warm over rice.

Tip:
To make your own Creole seasoning, combine 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon chile powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, if desired), 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl and stir together. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

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