Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chupe de Camarones (Peruvian Shrimp Stew)

It's common to see fried or poached eggs added to a whole range of foods,
here this is a traditional addition, either as an add on like this or
stirred into the stew while its in its last minutes of cooking.
This is one of those recipes that has a basic name, you know what it is, but you have no real idea how amazingly delicious it actually is until you make it. There are a few steps, but if you have everything prepped ahead of time, it's pretty easy. The broth is thick and chowdery, due to a first round of diced potatoes cooking down, and there is a little bit of heat that comes from a diced jalapeno added to the first round of ingredients. This makes enough for about 4 servings. I adapted this recipe from "The Book of Latin American Cooking," by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz. This version is about half of the one in the book.

Chupe de Camarones

2 Tbl. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small to medium fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 ripe medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
2 (8-oz. each) bottles of clam juice, and enough water to make 1-1/2 Qts.
1 large starchy potato, peeled and diced

1 lb. of raw shrimp in the shell, peeled and reserving the shells
1/4 cup rice
2 large starchy potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1/2 cup peas (you can use frozen)
1 large ear of corn, cut into 6 slices
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 Tbl. chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

1 egg per person, fried or poached right before serving

heat the oil in bottom of a large sauce pan (the one that will hold the soup). Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are softened. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes, oregano, jalapeno, salt and coarse black pepper, and continue to cook for a few minutes. Once the tomatoes get really soft and incorporated with the onions, add the diced potatoes and the clam broth. Add in the shrimp shells, stir and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Tomatoes are easy to peel, cut a small cross on the bottom, and plunge into boiling water for about a minute.
Peel comes right off from the cut end.


At this stage, all the tomato, onions, jalapenos, etc., get cooked thoroughly into the broth.

Once the potato cubes are really softened, place a strainer over another pot or container, and sieve the broth, pushing through as much of the solids as possible. Make sure to scrape off the underside of the sieve to get all the thick potato. Because I had a small sieve, I made sure that I also sieved it again when I returned it to the first pot.

You want all the solids pressed through into a paste, leaving the shrimp shells behind. This will help thicken the broth.
Return the broth to the first large, saucepan, making sure no bits of shell remain on it. At this point, add the rice, the halved potatoes and the peas. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally, the thicker ingredients at this point will be more apt to stick. Once the potatoes are fork tender, add the shrimp and the corn, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Stir occasionally so the shrimp and corn cook evenly. Stir in the half-and-half to the broth and remove from the heat. Sprinkle with half the cilantro, stir in.

Quickly fry or poach one egg for each serving bowl. I cooked mine until the white was set and the yolk still runny. Ladle even amounts of potato, shrimp and corn into serving bowls, fill with some broth, and top with a fried egg, some cilantro and coarse black pepper.

You can also serve this without the egg, but it really does add quite a bit to it.
The corn looks awkward, but you really can just pick it up holding it
between your fingers on the cut ends, and eat it with little fuss. 




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