In November of last year, I had the honor of judging the World Food Championship dessert category while attending the World Food Championship Blogger Summit in Orange Beach, Alabama.

I was part of a lucky selective few.

Lucky for so many reasons: one, we were treated to a stay at the incredible Turquoise Place resort in Orange Beach. Never stayed there? I  highly recommend it for their top of the line amenities including hot tubs and outdoor kitchens overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mexico; two, we were able to experience the best the area has to offer, like our stop at Graham Shrimp Company, the largest processor in the U.S. of I.Q.F. (Individual Quick Frozen) wild caught shrimp!

Graham Shrimp Company, a fourth generation shrimping business, is in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.  Bayou La Batre– a “land of opportunity fueled by the bounty of the Gulf of Mexico.” We were given a VIP tour of everything that goes into the business–from the fleet, through the plant, to our plate. After seeing the process, you will definitely not want to waste any shrimp or shells again!

The best part? Graham Shrimp company never wastes anything! They are a part of the Gulf Coast Agricultural and Seafood Co-Op, a green-waste processing plant that turns an estimated 5,000 tons of waste (shrimp shells and heads) into fertilizer and animal feed every year.
Shrimp Stock This is my type of company! Their zero-waste process got me thinking of my favorite way to use shrimp heads and shells: create a shrimp stock. There is no better way to flavor an old-fashioned shrimp stew!
Shrimp Stew
Old-Fashioned Shrimp Stew
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Old-Fashioned Shrimp Stew


  • 1 1/2-2lbs head on shrimp
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 12 oz tasso or smoked sausage, diced
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 12oz bag frozen corn
  • 1 12 oz bag frozen cut okra
  • 2 large Idaho potatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 toes garlic, minced
  • Hot sauce & Cajun seasoning, to taste


  1. Rinse the shrimp. Peel the shrimp reserving the shells and heads. Put shrimp into refrigerator.
  2. Add oil to a stock pot. Heat over medium high heat. Add shells and heads. Sauté until they turn a bright orange, 8-10 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the surface.Cover with water. Add 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain stock over a bowl.
  3. To the pot, brown the tasso. Stir in the flour until light brown. Add the onions, garlic, pepper, and celery. Continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the stewed tomatoes, other bay leaf, and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 30 minutes. In the meantime, cube the potatoes. Add to the pot. Continue to simmer 30 minutes. Add the corn and okra. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add hot sauce and Cajun seasoning to taste.
That’s it! IMG_20170131_161643
 Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: What other vegetables could you add? Zucchini, squash, carrots? Want to spice it up? Add Rotel, diced green chilies, or jalapenos. Want to really make it a true old-fashioned stew? Top with hard boiled eggs! The stew can even be served over grits or rice.
Food Fun: Did you know the average life span of a shrimp is 1-2 years? Head to Graham Shrimp Company’s website for more shrimp facts and trivia!
Old-Fashioned Shrimp Stew
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