A savory Cuban shrimp dish, creole shrimp (or camaron criollo) is a tasty and relatively quick meal to make at home.
This is another Cuban dish I learned to make by watching my in laws. It actually came to the blog accidentally. My in-laws were visiting, and my father spied some shrimp at the market that he thought looked absolutely fabulous. 30 seconds later, plans to go out that evening changed so we could make creole shrimp at home! My in-laws looked at me and said, “you need to take pictures and put this on the blog”. On a side note, I love how this blog has become a family affair and a way to document “home” recipes. It makes my heart happy to blend food from the Godfather’s family, my family, and new foods we discover together for the site. Good food is meant to be shared, darlings.
Anyway, if you ever peruse the seafood section of the menu at any Cuban restaurant, you’ll see this dish. We discussed the name over our meal so I could be sure I translated properly. “Camaron criollo” roughly translates to “creole shrimp” and that’s just how this dish is known, although sometimes you might see it listed as camaron enchilado depending on the place. There might be similar versions in other Caribbean countries, but I know this dish as Cuban.
What I absolutely love about it is that it’s so easy to make at home. The ingredient list is long because you build all these lovely layers of flavor, but preparation is quick. Preparation almost has to be quick for shrimp dishes as shrimp are best served immediately after cooking. You’ll want to budget about 30 minutes to make the dish. Serve this dish with white rice, a bit of bread to sop up the extra sauce, and a green salad for a lovely complete meal that’s perfect to enjoy anytime!
- 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 small to medium onion, about 1-1 1/2 cups chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cubanelle pepper, or a green pepper (any mild pepper will do in a pinch)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup white cooking wine
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce, 6 ounces/1 small can
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, diced
- 1/2 roasted red pepper, about 1/4 cup
- a few saffron threads if you have them, optional
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ketchup
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- salt to taste
- Clean the shrimp if needed
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet with a lid, and add the garlic, onion, and peppers. Saute 4-5 minutes until softened, then add the wine, tomato sauce, vinegar, parsley, spices, and ketchup. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow to cook for 15 minutes. You'll see a tiny bit of olive oil rise to the top and you'll know the sauce is ready.
- Add the shrimp to the sauce and cook for about 5 minutes until the shrimp just turns pink and is cooked through. Serve immediately.
You'll notice that some of the ingredients are flexible. There's a lot of room in this recipe to adjust to taste and just use what you have on hand. In fact, the spices are almost always eyeballed when I've seen this dish cooked.