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Cajun Creole

12 medium sized firm ripe tomatoes or 4 cups chopped drained canned tomatoes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1 cup water
2 medium sized bay leaves
1 Tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. salt
10 oz. package mixed vegetables or whatever vegetable you choose to use
1-1 1/2 lbs. cooked and peeled Shrimp or other seafood
2 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water

In heavy 4-5 quart pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Heat until hot. Add onion, green peppers, celery and garlic. Stir frequently about 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft and translucent, but not brown. Stir in tomatoes (which have been peeled and seeded), water, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne and salt.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add whatever cooked vegetables you choose and Shrimp or seafood. Simmer for 5 minutes or longer. Stir the cornstarch-water mixture once or twice to recombine it and pour into creole. Stir over heat for about 2-3 minutes as sauce thickens slightly. Pick out bay leaves. Check seasoning. Serve over rice. If freezing, add cornstarch-water mixture, vegetables and seafood when warming to serve.

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