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Shrimp Amelie (New Orleans shrimp contest winner)

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Here's the recipe that won first place in the local contest from which I previously posted the 2nd place recipe from my high school friend. Neither one of us are too crazy about too much anise flavor so I would probably keep the brandy in this recipe but eliminate the Herbsaint entirely.

Here's what the judges said about Mr. Falgoust's recipe: "Really well-balanced and deeply Creole flavors. Sweet shrimp and tangy cheese held together by a perfectly seasoned tomato sauce." "Love how he added the Herbsaint. Makes it unique." "Interesting twist on a classic shrimp Creole." Several judges noted that the dish was beautifully presented and that "the shrimp were cooked perfectly."

Shrimp Amelie
Serves 4 to 6
William Falgoust's 1st place in Rouse’s "Win Your Weight in Shrimp" cook-off, June 2017.

6 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons butter
2 pounds wild-caught Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut in half if large
2 Tablespoons brandy
2 Tablespoons Herbsaint
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons green onion tops, chopped
3 cups rice, cooked

1.  Heat 4 Tablespoons olive oil in heavy 2-quart saucepan. Add onions, celery and garlic and sauté until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and lemon juice.
2.  Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in heavy cream and set aside.
3.  Preheat oven to 425⁰F. Melt butter and remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil in heavy skillet. Sauté shrimp just until pink, add brandy and Herbsaint and set aflame carefully, burning off a bit of the liquor. Place shrimp in casserole dish, cover with sauce. Sprinkle feta over sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and green onions.
4.  Bake until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

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