Red Lobster is an American casual dining restaurant chain that is owned and operated by Darden Restaurants, Inc., headquartered in Orlando, Florida. The company also has operations in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. As of May 29, 2011, there are 698 Red Lobster locations worldwide.
Red Lobster was founded in 1968 by entrepreneurs Bill Darden and Charley Woodsby. Originally billed as a "Harbor for Seafood Lovers", the first restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, was followed by several others throughout the southeast. In 1970, General Mills acquired Red Lobster as a five-unit company. With new backing, the chain expanded rapidly in the 1980s.
Red Lobster Recipe
1-1/2 cups melted butter
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions, diced
1 cup chopped green peppers, diced
1 cup chopped celery, diced
1 lb. Andouille sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 lb. Tasso smoked meat, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 tablespoon paprika
3 tablespoons "Emeril's Bayou Blast" seasoning
2 teaspoons gumbo file, ground
1 teaspoon ground Ancho pepper (optional for extra heat)
10 cups cold chicken stock or broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1/2 lb. shrimp, cleaned and peeled with tails removed
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the melted butter and flour in a large heavy pot, stirring constantly over media heat. Cook until the roux is a dark, chocolate brown color for about 20 to 25 minutes. Add the chopped onions, green peppers, celery, Andouille sausage and Tasso smoked meat. Cook, stirring continuously, until the vegetables are very soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the paprika, the "Emeril's Bayou Blast" and the gumbo file. If you want a spicier dish, add the Ancho pepper. Cook for about 1-2 minutes.
Add the cold chicken stock or broth. Stir until the roux mixture and the broth are well combined.
Add the bay leaves and the brown sugar, bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Add shrimp to the soup approximately 5 to 10 minutes prior to serving (size of the shrimp will determine how long they need to cook). Add salt and pepper to taste.