Shrimp-Sausage Gumbo

Have you ever cooked something that was so good that you had to run out and share it?

I was reading Adam Holland’s blog last week that featured Shrimp Scampi which I love.  Late afternoon and I didn’t really have a plan for dinner.  As luck would have it, when I sent a comment to Adam about his scampi, he was on line and we got my dinner figured out in a flash.  I was musing about making shrimp but mentioned that I had some vague idea of combining shrimp and sausage with some peppers I had on hand.  Well Adam jumped right on that with suggestions and our exchange resulted in this unbelievably scrumptious concoction that I don’t have a real name for – how about if we call it Shrimp/Sausage Gumbo a la Diane with an assist from Adam.  What really made this a great dish was his suggestion of caramelized onions and using a fra diavolo sauce.  Okay, I’ll admit I didn’t know exactly what a fra diavolo sauce is but it seemed like my leftover sauce from the week’s spaghetti and meatballs would do just fine.  My hat’s off to you, Adam for your timely help with dinner – thank you!

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Shrimp/Sausage Gumbo a la Diane with an assist from Adam

1.  Pre-cook sausage – I used a package of Italian sweet
2.  Caramelize a very large white onion – saute in butter until soft, then sprinkle with sugar and douse with white wine, let simmer
3.  Add in sliced red and orange bell pepper until softened, followed by 2 cloves of minced garlic and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes
4.  After sausage have cooked, chop into thick chunks – add to mixture
5.  Stir in a marinara or ‘fra diavolo’ type sauce with a good hefty slug of red wine
6.  Let bubble and simmer while flavors combine, adding more red wine as it reduces, then serve over spaghetti or as Adam suggested, sop up the juice with a nice thick slab of homemade bread.

Now I mentioned that sometimes you make something that’s so tasty you just have to share it.  So the next afternoon, Niki got out of work early and I just had to run the leftovers out to Boston for her to try.  Unfortunately, in my excitement I wasn’t thinking about it being the Friday of a holiday weekend so when I left at 5:30, I found myself in what WBZ was calling “a slow crawl down the Mass Pike all the way to Westboro”.  Slow crawl? Cripes, I would have gotten home faster if I’d ditched my car.


Shrimp, Beer & Old Spice…I mean Old Bay

We decided to push things a little this weekend regarding John’s potential shellfish allergy.  We do live close to a hospital and the allergy hasn’t been confirmed; plus it seems like I’ve got a lot of recipes that involve shrimp, lobster, crab… but as I make up the week’s menu I’ll ask John “how about… oh wait, no that’s shellfish you’d better not”.  He couldn’t take it anymore so we agreed on this unbelievable shrimp recipe that goes very well with basic risotto. The  rule was:  just eat a little and if you break out into that rash again and start gasping, I’ll just shoot you with my epi-pen.  I figured we’d given the shellfish a break for a couple of weeks and maybe in small portions it would be fine (he was fine so maybe the rash was caused by the IRS after all).  What makes this such an easy dish to prepare is that you can just dump everything into a big pot minus the shrimp while you get the risotto or pasta ready.


1     Bottle of beer (your preference)
2     Teaspoons salt
4     Bay leaves
1     Tablespoon thyme – or a bunch of fresh sprigs
6     Cloves garlic – peeled & smooshed
1     Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
2-3  Lemons – quartered
1     Lb. jumbo shrimp – rinsed & peeled

Fill a large pot with about 1 1/2 quarts water.  Dump a beer in then add salt, bay leaves, thyme, garlic and Old Bay Seasoning.  Squeeze the lemon juice then toss in the quarters.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes for flavors to combine then add shrimp for about 3 minutes, just until they’re pink.  Can be served with fettuccine but I like it best with basic risotto (which we had with broccoli).

Seconds weren’t an option this time for John but he enjoyed it enough to at least wish for more.