This dish reminds me of home and discovery. Not only is it the first dish I learned how to make from start to finish, it is a dish that exemplifies the beauty of creole cooking. Toast the roux too little, it will be too thick, toast the roux too much, and you have an entirely different dish. When it all comes together it's magic, and this recipe is wizardry 101.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the flour, reduce heat to medium-low, and whisk into a smooth paste until a blonde roux forms: approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the onion, celery, pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring until vegetables have softened, approximately 6 minutes. Add the Cajun spice, bay leaf, and thyme and cook for 1 minute.
Add the shrimp stock in thirds, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the shrimp and cook for approximately 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.