WARM SHRIMP GUMBO DIP (Adapted from Southern Living)

I’m excited to try this dish that includes one of my favorite things – Hot Pickled Okra.  Thought this appetizer would be a good one to represent the South and the Atlanta Falcons with Okra, shrimp and creole seasoning!  Could easily substitute 1 1/2 lbs. of cooked chicken for the shrimp if desired.

1/4 cup butter
6 green onions, sliced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 cup chopped assorted bell peppers
1 1/2 pounds peeled, large raw shrimp, chopped (preferably fresh from Florida or Georgia!)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese (I use lower fat neufchatel)
3/4 cup sliced pickled okra
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Toasted French bread baguette slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat; add green onions, celery and bell peppers.

Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until peppers are tender. Stir in shrimp and garlic and Creole Seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low; add cream cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.

Remove from heat, and stir in okra and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Spoon mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. cheese.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread, toasted sliced baguette or crackers of your choice.

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