6 cups chicken/shrimp shell stock (or more if desired)

4 cans Swanson's Chicken Broth + 4 soup cans of water

1/4 cup all purpose flour + 4 Tbsp. Unsalted butter for roux

2 cups onions, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

1 small bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. Sliced Portabella mushrooms

16 oz. Can whole tomatoes, chopped finely

2 small cans Rotel tomatoes with chilies

1 medium size can tomato sauce

2 small cans Contadina Tomato Paste

1/2 cup prepared roux (as needed)

4 bay leaves

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 lemon, zested

3 tsp. Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning

2 tsp. Sea salt (as desired)

1 tsp. Black pepper

1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper (or to taste)

3/4 bunch sliced green onion tops

1/2 cup minced parsley

4 lbs. Shrimp, peeled, deveined, and sliced lengthwise

Instant rice, buttered

Binder's hot French Bread Pistolettes for sopping

The first thing you do is put all the shells and heads from the shrimp you peeled into the chicken stock and poach them on 'low' for about 30 minutes.

Then when you feel that all of the shrimp essence has been sapped from the shells, strain off the stock but be sure to save every single succulent drop of it!

As the courtbouillion stock cools to room temperature (this should take about 45 minutes), take a 5-quart Magnalite oval roaster or a cast iron Dutch Oven, place it on the stovetop over a medium fire, and make a light ivory-colored butter roux by combining the butter and the flour and whisking them together until a silky paste forms.

When they reach the color you desire, and when the roux has cooked long enough to eliminate any 'raw flour' taste, take the pot from the fire, toss in the seasoning vegetables (the onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and Portabellas) and stir everything together to stop the roux from cooking any further and getting any darker.

At this point, one item at a time, begin working in the rest of the ingredients: all of the tomatoes (whole, sliced, pureed, etc.), the bay leaves, Worcestershire Sauce, lemon zest, seafood seasoning, salt, black pepper, and cayenne, along with the onion tops and parsley (just be sure to keep a couple of pinches of parsley aside for garnish when the courtbouillion is finished).

When all the ingredients are in and contributing to the rich overall taste of the dish, reduce the fire on the stovetop to low, low, low, tightly cover the pot, and gently simmer the concoction for about 30 minutes before stirring in the shrimp.

Important: Note that when the shrimp are added cook them for only 4 minutes so that they remain firm and retain all their natural juices.v When you're ready to eat, simply pour a big ladle full of courtbouillion loaded with shrimp over a bowl of hot steamed rice, garnish with a sprinkling of parsley, and serve up with a crusty hot French pistolette. It's the perfect end to a great Mardi Gras Day.


Chef's Notes:

The chicken broth/shrimp stock mixture is made by adding to the oval roaster two cans of chicken broth, 1 cup of water, and the shrimp shells (immediately after they've been washed). As the concoction poaches over a low fire, add additional straight chicken broth as needed to create a rich broth.

Because this courtbouillion freezes extremely well, I suggest that you make extra and stash it away in the freezer for yet another meal at an appropriate time.