Charleston Shrimp Perloo (From America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Country)
The concept is simple enough—a one-pot meal of rice, vegetables, and meat cooked in flavorful stock. But there’s a fine line between simple and boring. Shrimp is traditional for this low-country dish, so that’s what we chose. We sauté the shells in butter with onion and celery and make a quick stock, extracting maximum flavor from the shrimp. For the vegetables, we keep it simple with more onion and celery, along with green bell pepper and canned tomatoes. Toasting the rice in butter helps the grains stay firm—not mushy—when cooked. Simmer with our homemade stock, garlic, thyme, and just a touch of cayenne and the rice is perfect. Adding the shrimp during the last few minutes of cooking prevents them from overcooking.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ pounds extra-large shrimp, (21-25 per pound, peeled and deveined, shells reserved)
2 onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped, salt and pepper
4 cups water
1 tablespoon peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 cups long-grain white rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
After adding the shrimp to the pot, fold it in gently; stirring the rice too vigorously will make it become mushy. Any extra stock can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for up to one month. Serve with hot sauce.
1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add shrimp shells, 1 cup onion, ½ cup celery, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until shells are spotty brown, about 10 minutes. Add water, peppercorns, parsley, and bay leaves. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain shrimp stock through a mini-mesh strainer set over large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible, discard solids.
2. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bell pepper, remaining onion and celery, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add rice, garlic, thyme, and cayenne and cook until fragrant and rice is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juice and 3 cups shrimp stock (reserve remainder for another use) and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Gently fold shrimp into rice until evenly distributed, cover, and continue to cook 5 minutes longer. Remove pot from heat and let sit, covered, until shrimp are cooked through, and all liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Serve.