Monday, November 19, 2012

Potato and Shrimp Stew

Our first holiday season in our new house, in 1999, I hosted Christmas Eve. My husband's family came over after the church service for hors d'oeuvres and desserts. I had planned extensively, but I was inexperienced. I can't remember the menu, just the toast points topped with cilantro mayonnaise and shrimp. It needed to be assembled as soon as I got home from church before serving. I guess I took a little too long getting it out because David's grandma murmured "Next time I'm invited here, I'm bringing a peanut butter sandwich!"

That was my first experience cooking with cilantro. I don't like cilantro. I won't tell you what I think cilantro tastes like because it's unappetizing, and you'll wonder how I know what that tastes like. I can think of three things I will eat cilantro in: fresh-made salsa, the hummus on Panera Bread's Mediterranean Veggie sandwich and this Potato and Shrimp Stew I just discovered. 

Knowing that I don't care for cilantro, I used less than the 1/2 cup the recipe calls for when I made this soup. But when I tried it for the first time, I declared I would make it again -- and leave out the cilantro. However, when I ate the leftovers two days after I first served it, I found the cilantro taste diminished. I was surprised -- most flavors intensify with time.

If you like cilantro, you will like this. If you don't, it's still a good recipe -- either make it the day before you intend to serve it or leave out the cilantro. I think this would be a splendid first course to a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. But it's a great-tasting, filling meal on its own with a loaf of hot, crusty bread, especially on a cold winter night.

I apologize for the terrible photo.

 

POTATO AND SHRIMP STEW 

14-ounce bag large cooked, peeled shrimp, thawed (tails removed)
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped in small chunks (I used Yukon Gold from Davis Bros. Farm)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 can corn, drained (I used the 8-ounce can)
1 15-ounce can chicken broth 

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, not drained
12-ounce jar chili sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
Set aside thawed shrimp. Cook potatoes in lightly salted water until tender. Drain; return to pot.
Add chopped cilantro, corn, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, jar of chili sauce and cumin to pot.
Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover; simmer gently 5 minutes Stir in shrimp. Heat briefly until warm. Do not overcook! Add water if thinner broth is desired. (It wasn't.) Salt to taste. (I didn't.)

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