I normally refer to this recipe as ‘Party Shrimp & Rice’ because unlike paella or risotto that need lots of last-minute attention, this is partly made ahead, making it a perfect ‘go-to’ dish for entertaining.
I’ve removed the word ‘Party’ from the title because I figured most of you would have had enough partying for the time being and I didn’t want anyone assuming they had to throw yet another party in order to justify making it.
That said, this is really easy to make, is absolutely delicious and fantastic for feeding a crowd. The unusual (for me) ingredient is canned tomato soup. I use ‘Amy’s Organic Low Fat Cream of Tomato Soup’ but any non-condensed tomato soup will do. Home-made is even better if you have time.
You can spice it up by adding more cayenne pepper. I really like the combination of smoked paprika and cayenne but you can use plain paprika if you prefer. Just add small amounts of one or the other (or both) until you have the level of heat and smoke that you want.
I made this with smoked Basmati rice that’s available from Amazon (buy/share it with your friends – at $22.95 for a 10lb bag it’s great value). The original recipe calls for plain white rice so you don’t have to go out of your way to buy the smoked stuff but it really is wonderful and adds a delicious wood-smokey dimension to so many rice dishes.
Finally, I prefer wild caught or US freshwater shrimp because I don’t care for the way imported Indonesian shrimp is farmed. Check it out for yourselves and make your own decision.
PERFECT SHRIMP & RICE with SHERRY and ALMONDS
2lbs (1 kilo) of frozen prawns – large, raw and peeled
12 oz (340g) of Basmati rice (smoked or plain)
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons of light olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 oz (29g) of butter
One 10 oz (284g) can of non-condensed tomato soup
8 fl oz (228ml) of cream
4 fl oz (114ml) of sherry
4 oz (114g) of slivered/flaked almonds
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne, smoked paprika – adjusted to taste
Cook the rice according to instructions and set it aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and drop in the frozen prawns; simmer for 5 minutes, drain them quickly and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Put the prawns in a large non-metal bowl and add the oil and lemon juice. Toss them around a bit then pile the cooked rice on top of the prawns; cover and chill for a minimum of 4 hours to overnight.
In a very large heavy pan with a lid, heat the butter and gently cook the chopped onion and green pepper until they’re soft.
Reduce the heat to very low, add the rice and prawns followed by everything else, reserving about 1 oz (29g) of the flaked almonds for decoration. Adjust the seasoning and spice a little at a time, to taste.
Fold everything together very gently to mix then cover and cook it over a low heat stirring once or twice for about 30 minutes, or until everything is warmed through.
To serve, pile everything into a warmed serving bowl – scatter with the remaining flaked almonds and a sprinkle of paprika.