DOWN HOME SHRIMP WITH OKRA
Here’s a dish, Cajun-inspired in its ingredients, that packs just a hint of heat and yields a great sense of freshness. Deliciously different, it makes a great one-pot meal served over rice.
Medium ( approx. 3½ quarts) slow cooker
Can be Halved
• 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells set aside (500 g)
• 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (25 mL)
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1 mL)
• 1 cup dry white wine (250 mL)
• 1 cup water (250 mL)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil (25 mL)
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 2 stalks celery, diced
• 1 teaspoon salt (5 mL)
• 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns (5 mL)
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (2 mL)
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes with juice
• 2 cups thinly sliced okra (500 mL)
• 1 cup corn kernels (250 mL)
• 1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and diced
• 1 tablespoon butter (15 mL)
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
1. In a small bowl, combine shrimp, lemon juice and cayenne. Stir well, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Meanwhile, make shrimp stock. In a saucepan, combine shrimp shells and 1 cup (250 mL) each white wine and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain pushing the shells again the sieve to extract as much flavor as possible. Measure 1 cup (250 mL) and set aside. Freeze excess.
3. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add salt, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil.
4. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Stir in reserved shrimp stock. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours. Stir in okra, corn and bell pepper. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until okra is tender.
5. When you are ready to serve, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Using a slotted spoon, immediately add reserved shrimp in batches and cook, stirring, until they turn pink. Transfer to slow cooker as completed. Add marinade juices to pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add to slow cooker, stir well and serve.
Okra, a tropical vegetable, has a great flavor but it becomes unpleasantly sticky when over cooked. Choose young okra pods, 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) long that don’t feel sticky to the touch. (If sticky they are too ripe). Gently scrub the pods and cut off the top and tail before slicing.
Complete Steps 1 and 2. Cover and refrigerate shrimp and vegetable mixture separately, overnight. When you’re ready to cook, continue with the recipe.
Recipe From Slow Cooker Comfort Food by Judith Finlayson. (Robert Rose, September 2009, Softcover/$24.95)