Gwen Fowler



A Taste of South Carolina: Carolina Creole

Posted 3/12/2012 9:02:00 AM

Jo Luquire of Georgetown has been sharing her special shrimp creole with family and friends for years, and now the Luquire family has bottled it and is selling it across South Carolina.

Carolina Creole has been available in 25-ounce jars since summer 2011 and is available in specialty food shops and in Piggly Wiggly

“That is an authentic family dish we share around our dinner table,” said Jason Luquire, son of Jo Luquire. The two, along with Jason’s wife, Micki, are the family members behind Carolina Creole.

Jason Luquire said his mother came up with the recipe in the early 1960s after the family moved to Georgetown. Jo Luquire called on her French background to come up with a way to use the bounty from the marshes and waterways in the area.

Micki Luquire is Italian and makes a great marinara sauce, Jason Luquire said. When the two of them were considering marketing a specialty food, they first thought of the marinara, but their research showed that was a crowded market.

“It became clear to us that would be a pretty big mountain to climb,” he said.

On the other hand, they found little competition for bottled creole sauces, he said, certainly not one like his mother’s sauce, which is very different from a Louisiana creole.

Carolina Creole is a mixture of tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and spices that has a hint of heat but isn’t likely to be too hot for most people. Jason Luquire suggests that people who want it hotter add Tabasco Sauce to complement the flavors.

Cooking your own shrimp creole couldn’t be simpler with Carolina Creole. Heat the sauce in a skillet; add 1 pound of peeled shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are done and then serve over rice or grits. The Luquires recommend topping with crumbled bacon. It can also be cooked with chicken and sausage.

I bought a jar for $9.99 at an area Piggly Wiggly and, with the help of a pound of shrimp, had a tasty dinner cooked up in no time.

In addition to Piggly Wiggly, Luquire is working to get the sauce into Fresh Markets. It’s also available online.