1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. flour
1 3/4 C. chopped onion
3/4 C. thinly sliced scallions (green onions)
1/3 C. chopped celery
4 t. finely minced garlic
2 1/2 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
3 whole bay leaves, crushed
1 t. dried thyme
2 lb ripe (beefsteak, Jersey) tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 1/2 to 3 C.)
3 C. water (or shrimp stock)
1 t. fresh lemon juice
2 lb. white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 lb. whole fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
In a heavy 6- to 8-quart pot or kettle, heat the oil and gradually stir in the flour. cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until a medium brown roux (the color of rich peanut butter) is formed (about 20 to 30 minutes). When the desired color is reached, lower the heat immediately and add the chopped onion, scallions, celery, and garlic. Stir thoroughly and cook over low heat for 10 minutes more, stirring constantly.
Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne, bay leaves, and thyme and mix well. Add the chopped tomatoes, water (or stock), and lemon juice, then simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Add the cubed potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Add the shrimp, cover the pot, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes more or until shrimp turn pink.
How to make shrimp stock…Peel the shrimp and save the shells. Rinse shells with cold water and add to a pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and use in stew. Add water if necessary to make 3 cups.