Cracking The Code: My Grandmother’s New Orleans Shrimp Stuffing
This weekend, my family is coming together for an early Thanksgiving dinner. As the host, I got one request that almost stumped me. My sister-in-law requested that I make my grandmother's New Orleans Shrimp Stuffing. It's been a year since she passed away and no one had it written down. I had never made it, but I decided to reverse engineer it.
To Google, I went.
I scrolled through recipes with just a few scant details about the ingredients and the general cooking process. I found something that looked similar and then I read into it more. It was my Ma-Ma Barbara's secret shrimp stuffing, the one I thought was lost forever after her passing was posted by a writer at NOLA.com in 2014. There are some slight adjustments that you'll see below.
I gathered the ingredients and read through the process several times to see if I could get it right. In my kitchen, surrounded by the familiar smells of butter and onions cooking, I felt like she was guiding me. This was her famous stuffing.
As the stuffing started to come together in the pot, I couldn't resist a little quality control testing along the way. I was transported back to the many years of Thanksgiving dinners with my grandparents who lived in Slidell. When I took the pan of stuffing from the oven, perfectly cooked and with a smell that would make you 'slap ya mama', I was proud.
Hope you make this recipe this holiday season. Tell me how it goes!
Barbara's Famous New Orleans Shrimp Stuffing
- 1-1/2 sticks butter
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 3 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 bunch celery, chopped
- 6 toes garlic, minced
- 1 small handful dried parsley
- Salt and pepper
- 5 pounds raw, peeled shrimp
- Cajun Seasoning To Taste
- 2-3 loaves stale French po-boy bread
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- Italian bread crumbs for topping
- 1-2 tablespoons additional butter for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- On the stovetop in a large pot, Melt butter. Stir in chopped vegetables, garlic, parsley, and green onions.
- Cook on medium for 10 minutes or until browned.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Add shrimp. Stir till pink.
- Crumble bread into a large bowl and add water. Drain bread in a colander and squeeze out moisture.
- Add bread to the pot with the seasoning and the shrimp.
- Taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning.
- Add eggs to the mixture and mix well.
- Place in a large greased baking pan. Heavily sprinkle Italian bread crumbs on top. Dot with butter.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.
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Gallery Credit: Joni Sweet