If you’re planning on having folks over for the big game, here are two hearty dishes that can be made in advance so that you can enjoy the game, too. By using a crockpot, the seafood creole can be prepped and started about 5 1/2 hours before you’re ready to serve. The empanadas can made early in the day and simply reheated or served at room temperature.
Crockpot Seafood Creole
makes about 10 cups of creole
1/2 cu Vegetable Oil
1/2 cu All Purpose flour
2 lb Easy Peel Shrimp (deveined with the shell still on)
1 lg Onion, diced, yielding 2 cups
1 lg Green Pepper, diced, yielding 1 cup
2 lg Celery Stalks, diced, yielding 1 cup
4 cloves Garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
1 lg can Petite Tomatoes, 28 oz size
1 tbl Tomato Paste
1/2 cu Red Wine
1/4 cu Cider Vinegar
1 tbl Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 tbl Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 cu Flat Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 lb Okra (optional), trimmed and sliced into disks
2-3 cu Cooked White Rice
2 Scallions, sliced for garnish
This is a “pseudo crockpot” dish because it does take a bit of prep time before ingredients go into the slow cooker. So, plan on starting prep work about 5 1/2 hours before you are planning to serve it.
Make the roux. A well prepared roux is essential to this dish and it should not be rushed. It will take about an hour to make it properly. Pour vegetable oil in to a large saucepan over medium low heat. Once oil is hot, gradually stir in flour. Then, continue to stir as mixture turns from a pale white to a deep caramel brown, but not a deep chocolate color. If mixture is bubbling or scorching, then reduce the heat.
After an hour, increase heat to medium and add onions, green peppers an celery. Stir mixture for about 5 minutes and add garlic. Continue to stir for an additional 5 minutes until ingredients are tender. Transfer mixture to the crockpot.
Peel shrimp and reserve shells. Roughly chop shrimp (optional - you can keep them whole if you like) and place them in a covered container. Refrigerate until ready to use. Place shrimp shells in a large pot and add 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover pot once it reaches a boil and remove it from the heat. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Then, strain the mixture and reserve the liquid. Pour the liquid into crockpot and discard the shells.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, vinegar, worcestershire, Louisiana hot sauce, salt, pepper, oregano, mustard and cayenne pepper to the crockpot. Set crockpot to low and let it cook for 4 hours. While the mixture is cooking, prepare your rice.
About 10 minutes before ready to serve, stir in parsley and okra (optional). After 5 minutes add shrimp. Once shrimp is pink and firm, about 3-5 minutes, the creole is ready.
Ladle creole into bowls or mugs. Top with a scoop of rice and garnish with scallions.
Beer Brat Empanadas
makes eight 6” empanadas
3 1/4 cu All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
4 oz Cream Cheese, torn into small pieces
6 tbl Cold Butter, cubed
1 lg Egg
1/2 cu Water
1 tsp White Vinegar
1/2 tbl Olive Oil
1 bottle Beer
8 Thinly sliced Provolone Cheese Slices
8 tsp Spicy Mustard
1 lg Onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbl Butter
1 lg Egg, beaten
Make the dough: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter and cream cheese with a pasty cutter or two forks until mixture resemble coarse meal. Add in egg, water and vinegar and work mixture until it forms a dough. Transfer dough to a lightly floured board and knead for about 5 minutes, working in additional flour if dough is a bit sticky. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium hight heat. Add brats and sauté for about 5 minutes until browned on all sides. Reduce heat to medium low and add beer. Cover and let the brats simmer in the beer for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, slice each brat into about 10 pieces.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add onions and sauté, stirring often, until they are tender and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Be sure not to let them burn. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Cut off about 1/3 of the dough and return the remainder to the refrigerator. Roll dough to about 1/4” thickness. Using a 6” pasty cutter or a similar sized saucer and a sharp knife, cut circles from the dough. Return scraps to the refrigerator with remaining dough.
With each dough circle, slice provolone in half then place both halves in the center of the dough reforming a circle but with about a 1/2 “ gap between them. Place a teaspoon of mustard on one of the slices. Cover mustard with 4-5 brat slices. Place 1/8 of the sautéed onions on the other provolone slice. Brush the edge of the dough with egg and fold the onion side over the brat side to form a half moon and seal the filling. Using a fork, press the edges together. Dip the fork in a bit of flour if it is sticking to the dough. Place empanada on a lined baking sheet and brush it with egg. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake empanadas for 25-30 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. Remove from oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Empanadas can be served warm or at room temperature.