Thursday, February 23, 2012

Creamy chipotle shrimp with mushrooms and wild rice

creamy chipotle shrimp with mushrooms and wild rice

“It’s time to be good,” said the menu, which was showcasing a special section of seafood dishes. It was carnitas that had lured me to this West Texan Mexican restaurant but I’m always a fool for good seafood, especially Texan seafood. A plate of chipotle shrimp seemed especially promising, but when I placed my order the waiter told me the special seafood menu was available only on Fridays. “It’s for cuaresma,” he explained, which means Lent in Spanish. As it was Tuesday, I stuck with my original plan of carnitas instead.

On Fridays during Lent, Catholics and many Protestants don’t eat meat, hence special Friday menus offering seafood at places where it’s not usually served. Now Lent is known as a time of abstention, repentance and reflection. But despite the serious mood I find there’s much to be joyful about during this season, namely the food.

Sure, I enjoy meat but I’ll take any excuse to eat more Texan seafood, which is widely on offer during Lent. For instance, on Fridays you’ll find many churches holding fish fries. Of course, churches in other parts of the country have Friday fish fries, but in Texas they’re frying up catfish instead of say, cod. Then there are those who have their Friday crawfish boils, as crawfish just happen to be in season during the spring. And how convenient is that?

Gulf shrimp

But as fun as a Friday fish fry or crawfish boil may be, my favorite Texan Lenten tradition is the aforementioned cuaresma menu found at Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. On offer you’ll find Veracruz-style fish, shrimp quesadillas and the excellent Mexican bread pudding known as capirotada for dessert. And of course, you’ll also find chipotle shrimp like I saw in West Texas but was unable to order that day.

As it goes, you want what you can’t have and that shrimp had a powerful hold on me. When I returned to New York I was still thinking about it and had many questions: How was it prepared? Was the sauce tomato based or cream based? Were the shrimp griddled or grilled? Was it was served over rice or simply on its own? I was starting to drive myself nuts thinking about it, so I decided the best thing would be to make my own version. And that's just what I did.

There’s a shrimp and wild rice casserole that makes an appearance in several of my Texan Junior League cookbooks. Using that as an inspiration, I whipped up a simple chipotle cream sauce in the blender and then poured it over a generous pile of wild rice that had been tossed with sautéed mushrooms and shrimp. The nutty wild rice was a solid background to the sweet shrimp and meaty mushrooms, while the spicy cream sauce did a fine job of holding it all together. I was pleased.

creamy chipotle shrimp with mushrooms and wild rice

Was this version of chipotle shrimp what they were serving in West Texas that day? Probably not, but I do hope to return before Easter this year since there are many other cuaresma seafood dishes that merit exploration as well. As for you, even if you’re not observing Lent, I’m pretty sure that if you like shrimp, chipotle chiles and wild rice, you'll find this dish simple yet fulfilling.

Creamy chipotle shrimp with mushrooms and wild rice

1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup sour cream or Greek-style yogurt
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons butter, divided
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
Salt to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 pound medium shrimp (36-40 count), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 cups cooked wild rice (see note)

To make the chipotle cream sauce, in a blender add the half-and-half, sour cream, canned chipotle chile, ground cumin, oregano, ground allspice and cayenne. Blend until smooth and light pink.

In a large skillet, on medium-low heat melt one tablespoon of butter. Add the mushrooms and the onions, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. While occasionally stirring, cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms have released are soft and released some of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

Remove mushrooms, onions and garlic from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.

Leaving the skillet on medium-low heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and lime juice to the skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes on each side until the shrimp is pink. Turn off the heat.

Return to the skillet the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Pour in the chipotle cream sauce and add the cilantro. Stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt to taste.

Serve over warm cooked wild rice.

4-6 servings

ook the wild rice according to its package directions or your preferred method. If you’ve never cooked it before, here’s what I do: I use a 4-to-1 ratio of water to wild rice, along with a tablespoon of butter and salt. I bring it to a boil uncovered, then cover the pot and let it simmer for about 50 minutes to an hour or until many of the kernels have popped and turned white, and it’s slightly soft enough to eat but still a little chewy.

At this point, there may still be water in the pot. I turn up the heat a bit and let it cook uncovered until all the water is gone, occasionally stirring. You can make the wild rice ahead of time and then reheat in a microwave or by bringing it to room temperature and stirring it in the warm shrimp and sauce.



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marthameetslucy said...

I wish my church did a fish fry. They do a fish bake and its disgusting. Mashed potatoes from a box and fish sticks? I'll pass. Because I'm staying home to make chipotle shrimp.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Marthameetslucy--I'm biased, but I do think chipotle shrimp is definitely better than fish sticks.

Celeste said...

This looks wonderful; I really enjoy rice with shrimp...the textures are nice together.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Celeste--I agree, the snappy shrimp and soft rice are perfect together.

Barbara said...

I love wild rice ... I love shrimp and tho' only on my first cup of coffee & in a state of no ability to think yet, I'm awake *WOW* this sounds like tonight's dinner, a winner & one to save! Well ... sounds like all your recipes ... thank you! PS. for those of us having to cut back on grains, carbos, even wild rice, I may try some quinoa sprinkled on mache leaves underneath the shrimp & its heavenly chipotle sauce.

Kat Bar said...

Looks yummy and I will try this. Thanks!! If you're going to be in West Texas around the end of April, you might want to make a detour. Buffalo Gap, just outside of Abiliene, has it's annual WIne and Food Summit, held at the famous Perini Ranch.(and Steak House) Famous chefs, cheese experts, and wine connoisseurs...serve up their specialities West Texas Style. White linen table cloths with red dirt floors all under a canopy of big ol' live oak trees. Country music, real cowboys, even surprises like a college marching band promise to create an wonderful contrast of flair. First heard of this event in a Southern Living write up. Later featured in Texas Monthly as one of the best steaks in Texas (they got my attention there) this year I'm flying home and road tripping it with my best girl friend from Dallas to Buffalo Gap for what looks to be an event of a lifetime. All my favorite things in one place, in the land of ranchers and oil. Just thought I'd share, as it sounds just like YOUR kind of event too. (3 days of food and wine) Looking forward to checking this one off my bucket list! Here's their website if you want to read more:

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Barbara--You're welcome for the recipes and thank you for the quinoa and mache leave tip for those cutting back on their grains. I'll have to try that combination!

Kat Bar--That's an event that's long been on my list of things to attend. Tom and Lisa Perini are good people.

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

I have been on a major wild rice kick and I love the idea of serving it with creamy, spicy shrimp! What a yummy combo!

Sharon M said...

Mmm, we made this for dinner tonight; I added frozen, drained spinach (b/c I absolutely love spinach) and had to sub chipotle Tasbasco sauce since getting regular chipotles is nigh impossible in our corner of the world! So delicious... thanks again for another great recipe.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Sharon--That was fast! Glad y'all enjoyed it.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

This looks amazing! Now you made me homesick for catfish from the South! I'll have to give this a whirl instead...

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Rocky Mountain Woman--There's nothing like Southern catfish.

Lindie said...

Wow! I have all the ingredients in the house! Maybe I'll cook this tomorrow!

Carrie @ Kiss My Whisk said...

This just made my day, looks delicious!

SeattleDee said...

I'm purely goofy over Cajun shrimp 'n grits, but your chipotle shrimp over wild rice just might top the list of Best Seafood Plates. I'm tempted to add some hard chorizo to the mushroom and onion sauté.

Dee said...

Those shrimp sound incredible. Chipotle & anything are a hit in our house but pairing it with shrimp is heaven sent. Perfect!

Malli said...

Fascinating wild rice dish with beautiful shrimp!!

Shelley said...

My writing is based in West Texas, I was raised there, spent my life there, and I never saw a single chipotle shrimp!

It must have swum upstream.

Brenna said...

This is so freaking delicious! I love recipes that call for enough spices for my TX tastebuds - I am in the terrible habit of doubling (or even tripling) what's called for in most, and this is absolutely perfect as is.

Anonymous said...

Hello Lisa,

I bought your book and it is wonderful! I absolutely adore it, and I can’t wait to get cooking.

I am very curious though why there are 2 separate photos of paper towel in the book, where photos of delicious Texas food should be?


Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Lindie--Hope you enjoy it!

Carrie--Happy to make your day!

SeattleDee--I think that would be a fine addition!

Dee--You can never go wrong with chipotle!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...



Brenna--Glad to hear someone else likes it spicy!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Sarah--Thank you for the kind words about the book. As for the paper towels, those pictures were submitted to show what Texas restaurants look like and the paper towels are on the table are very common in Texas barbecue joints.

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Oops you did it again sister. Jeez Louise - what flavors you have going on in here! This reminds me I have about 50 recipes earmarked in your book I've got to get to!

Yvette ~ Muy Bueno Cookbook said...

Growing up Catholic we couldn't eat meat EVERY Friday. Now we just do it during Lent. And I truly look forward to it!!! Love the excuse to eat cheese enchiladas, fish, or shrimp on Fridays and have capirotada for dessert.

Lorelei said...

This looks so tasty! Must give this a try!

Amber @ Chocolate Broccoli said...

This is a dish right up my alley. I'm eating wild rice as we speak.. but there is tequila lime marinated chicken in it. Pretty good but I sure wish I had some shrimp at the moment. Big ol' Gulf Shrimp. Looks delish!!

The Impulsive Texan said...

I was VERY fortunate. I was invited to be the "boiler in charge" for a friends annual crawfish boil this past Saturday.

100 pounds of crawfish consumed by 35 - 40 people. They went as fast as I could pull them out of the pot...

Unknown said...

Wow, fantastic Miss Lisa. My Homesick Texan cookbook has a new page added to it. Absolutely the perfect combination, no adjustments needed here. Thanks, David.

Luann said...

This was so good! Spicy and a bit creamy. I agree with David, this will be a new page in My Homesick Texan Cookbook as well!

Val said...

I LOVE this one. I made it with cubed cooked chicken breast (poached in broth/water mix, then cut up) instead of shrimp since that's what I had on hand; really yummy! Thank you!

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