Portuguese Cream of Shrimp Soup.

we pulled this one from a “food of portugal” cookbook by jean anderson. i liked the look of it, but in the midst of making it, i became quite skeptical – the broth seemed a bit bland, and i feared it would be a failure. the end result surprised me by being a tasty, slightly tangy soup that i would certainly make again.

ingredients:

1 pound raw shrimp, in the shell
1.5 quarts water
2/3 cup white wine
2 med. yellow onions, peeled and chopped (i used very big ones)
2 med. garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (we always use more garlic than needed)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 large tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped (i used 5 romas)
2 tbsp parsley
1 bay leaf
5 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cream

1) place shrimp, water and wine in large saucepan, and bring to a simmer. remove from heat and remove the shrimp.
2) in another large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in butter and oil. when softened, mix in tomatoes, parsley, bay leaf, tomato paste, pepper, and cayenne. turn heat to low, cover and simmer 25 minutes.
3) add shrimp cooking liquid (through a strainer) to tomato mixture, then simmer uncovered for an hour. at this point, shell and devein the shrimp.
4) remove the bay leaf, and puree the mixture in batches using a blender or food processor. add 8 shrimp to the last batch to be pureed.
5) add the remaining shrimp to the pureed mixture, along with salt and cream. bring slowly to serving temperature. add salt to taste, serve garnished with parsley.

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Simple Paella.

always looking for something new, and i’m kind of a sucker for rice-based dishes. this is based off of a the mark bittman recipe that you can see right here.

four 3.5 cups stock
Pinch saffron (optional but very nice)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
About 1 teaspoon pimenton
several healthy dashes paprika
2 cups Spanish (or other) short grain rice
2 cups raw peeled shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch chunks, shells reserved for stock
Salt
Minced fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Warm the stock in a saucepan along with the saffron, if you’re using it. Place an ovenproof 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. A minute later, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook 1 minute more.

2. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until glossy, just 1 or 2 minutes. Stir in the shrimp, season liberally with salt, and add the warm stock, taking care to avoid the rising steam. Transfer the skillet to the oven.

3. Bake about 15 (it took us 20) minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is dry on top. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Taste for salt, then garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

this came together relatively easily – we had to shell and devein our shrimp, so that took the most time. the result was solid, but a touch on the bland side; we both had to do plenty of extra seasoning with salt and pepper. bittman’s book has a paella with chicken and chorizo variant that sounds like we might like it, but i think this is a good basis to do a lot of things. i think adding some more vegetables might have given it a little more to chew on, so to speak, as well.

overall, i probably won’t do it as is again; i’d likely try some new things. always moving forward!