CREAMY SHRIMP WITH SAFFRON RICE

THIS RECIPE COMBINES TWO TECHNIQUES:  A VELOUTÉ MADE WITH SHRIMP STOCK AND SAUTÉED SHRIMP.  THE VELOUTÉ IS ONE OF ESCOFFIER'S "MOTHER" SAUCES, A ROUX (FLOUR AND BUTTER) INTO WHICH YOU POUR THE SHRIMP STOCK TO CREATE A CREAMY, ALTHOUGH CREAM-LESS, SAUCE.  THE STOCK ITSELF YOU CAN MAKE AHEAD OF TIME WITH THE SHRIMP SHELLS, LEEKS AND HERBS.  YOU CAN, OF COURSE, HEAT THE VELOUTÉ AND TOSS IN THE SHRIMP JUST BEFORE SERVING, BUT I PREFER TO SAUTÉ THEM SEPARATELY WITH BARELY COOKED SLICES OF GARLIC, THEN FOLD THEM INTO THE SAUCE.   SAUTÉED SHRIMP HAVE MORE OF A CRUNCH, A NICE CONTRAST TO THE VOLUPTUOUS SAUCE.  YOU CAN SERVE THE SHRIMP OVER ANY KIND OF RICE, GRAIN, OR PASTA, BUT A PILAF OF SAFFRON RICE IS HARD TO BEAT.  

SHRIMP
 1 lb LARGE SHELL-ON SHRIMP (4 SHRIMP/PERSON)
 1 LEEK
 3 CELERY STALKS
 6 GARLIC CLOVES
 1 tbsp FENNEL SEEDS
 2 BAY LEAVES
 1/2-INCH COIN OF FRESH GINGER
 1 tbsp WHITE PEPPERCORNS
 3 SPRIGS OF FRESH THYME
 3 cups WHITE WINE
 FRESH TARRAGON AND/OR CHIVES
SAFFRON RICE
 1 cup LONG GRAIN RICE (I USE UNCLE BEN'S)
 1 MEDIUM RED ONION
 1 tsp SAFFRON
 2 cups CHICKEN STOCK
SHRIMP
1

CLEAN THE SHRIMP. RESERVE THE SHELLS.

TRIM ROOT AND DARK GREEN LEAVES FROM THE LEEK. SLICE LENGTHWISE AND WASH OFF ANY GRIT UNDER RUNNING WATER. CHOP ROUGHLY.

TRIM LEAVES FROM CELERY STALKS, CHOP ROUGHLY.

IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN SAUTÉ THE SHRIMP SHELLS OVER HIGH HEAT IN 2 TBSPS OF CANOLA OR GRAPE SEED OIL FOR 3-4 MINUTES, TILL THEY ARE BRIGHT PINK.

ADD 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER, THE LEEKS AND CELERY STALKS TO THE SHRIMP. REDUCE HEAT TO LOW, COVER AND LET THE VEGETABLE SWEAT A FEW MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY SO THE LEEKS DO NOT BROWN.

POUR IN 3 CUPS OF WHITE WINE, THE BAY LEAVES, THYME SPRIGS, WHITE PEPPERCORNS, GINGER AND 3 UNPEELED CLOVES OF GARLIC.

BRING TO A BOIL, THEN REDUCE TO A SIMMER. COOK FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES, THEN ADD 2 CUPS OF WATER. BRING TO A BOIL, REDUCE TO A SIMMER. SIMMER FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE STOCK IS REDUCED BY HALF.

WHEN THE STOCK HAS COOLED, STRAIN OUT ALL THE SOLIDS, PRESSING DOWN ON THE SHRIMP SHELLS TO EXTRACT AS MUCH FLAVOR AS POSSIBLE.

MELT 3 TBSPS OF BUTTER IN A MEDIUM SAUCE PAN. THE BUTTER WILL MELT THEN FOAM. WHEN IT RUNS CLEAR, QUICKLY WHISK IN 3 TBSPS OF FLOUR.

CONTINUE STIRRING WITH THE WHISK ON A MEDIUM FLAME FOR A FEW MINUTES, TILL THE ROUX IS A PALE BROWN.

REMOVE FROM THE HEAT AND WHISK IN 3 CUPS OF SHRIMP STOCK. RETURN TO THE HEAT AND CONTINUE WHISKING ON A MEDIUM FLAME TILL THE MIXTURE SHOULD THICKEN INTO A VELOUTÉ IN 5 TO 8 MINUTES. IF NOT SERVING IMMEDIATELY, DOT WITH COLD BUTTER OR A TBSP OF HEAVY CREAM AND SET ASIDE.

TEN MINUTES BEFORE COOKING, ADD 3 TBSPS SALT TO THE BOWL WITH THE SHRIMP AND TOP WITH WATER. ALLOW TO SOAK FOR 10 MINUTES, THEN DRAIN, RINSE UNDER RUNNING WATER AND LAYER SHRIMP ON PAPER TOWELS TO DRY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

PEEL AND THINLY SLICE 3 GARLIC CLOVES.

BRING THE SHRIMP VELOUTÉ TO A SIMMER.

PLACE A LARGE SKILLET OVER HIGH HEAT FOR 2 MINUTES. ADD 3 TBSPS OF OLIVE OIL. SEASON THE SHRIMP WITH SALT AND PEPPER AND LAY IN THE PAN. SAUTÉ ON HIGH HEAT FOR 1 MINUTE. ADD 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER TO THE PAN. FLIP THE SHRIMP. TOSS IN THE SLICED GARLIC AND COOK FOR ANOTHER MINUTE. THE SHRIMP SHOULD BE BRIGHT PINK; THE GARLIC, BARELY COOKED, NOT BROWNED.

FOLD THE SHRIMP INTO THE SAUCE.

SPREAD THE SAFFRON RICE ON A SERVING PLATTER. SPOON THE SHRIMP ON TOP. GARNISH WITH FRESHLY CHOPPED TARRAGON AND/OR CHIVES.

SERVES 4

SAFFRON RICE
2

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 325º

PEEL AND DICE THE ONION.

HEAT THE CHICKEN STOCK IN A SAUCEPAN.

GRIND THE SAFFRON IN A MORTAR AND PESTLE WITH A PINCH OF SEA SALT.

MELT 1 TBSP OF NEUTRAL OIL AND 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER IN A SMALL CASEROLE OR A SAUCEPAN WITH A LID.

ADD THE ONION, COVER AND COOK FOR A MINUTE OR SO ON A LOW HEAT TO SWEAT THE ONION.

STIR IN THE RICE AND COOK FOR ANOTHER MINUTE SO ALL THE GRAINS ARE GLOSSY AND VERY SLIGHTLY BROWNED.

POUR 1 CUP OF BOILING STOCK INTO THE MORTAR TO DISSOLVE THE SAFFRON AND POUR INTO THE POT WITH THE RICE. POUR ANOTHER 2/3 CUP INTO THE MORTAR AND ADD TO THE RICE. RESERVE A BIT OF STOCK.

BRING TO A BOIL. SALT LIGHTLY. PLACE IN THE OVEN. AFTER 15 MINUTES, TEST THE RICE WITH A FORK. IF ALL THE LIQUID HAS ABSORBED AND IT'S STILL NOT QUITE COOKED, ADD A BIT MORE STOCK. BAKE ANOTHER FEW MINUTES TILL THE RICE IS DONE. TURN OFF THE OVEN. THE RICE WILL KEEP THAT WAY FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR BEFORE YOU'RE READY TO SERVE IT.

Ingredients

SHRIMP
 1 lb LARGE SHELL-ON SHRIMP (4 SHRIMP/PERSON)
 1 LEEK
 3 CELERY STALKS
 6 GARLIC CLOVES
 1 tbsp FENNEL SEEDS
 2 BAY LEAVES
 1/2-INCH COIN OF FRESH GINGER
 1 tbsp WHITE PEPPERCORNS
 3 SPRIGS OF FRESH THYME
 3 cups WHITE WINE
 FRESH TARRAGON AND/OR CHIVES
SAFFRON RICE
 1 cup LONG GRAIN RICE (I USE UNCLE BEN'S)
 1 MEDIUM RED ONION
 1 tsp SAFFRON
 2 cups CHICKEN STOCK

Directions

SHRIMP
1

CLEAN THE SHRIMP. RESERVE THE SHELLS.

TRIM ROOT AND DARK GREEN LEAVES FROM THE LEEK. SLICE LENGTHWISE AND WASH OFF ANY GRIT UNDER RUNNING WATER. CHOP ROUGHLY.

TRIM LEAVES FROM CELERY STALKS, CHOP ROUGHLY.

IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN SAUTÉ THE SHRIMP SHELLS OVER HIGH HEAT IN 2 TBSPS OF CANOLA OR GRAPE SEED OIL FOR 3-4 MINUTES, TILL THEY ARE BRIGHT PINK.

ADD 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER, THE LEEKS AND CELERY STALKS TO THE SHRIMP. REDUCE HEAT TO LOW, COVER AND LET THE VEGETABLE SWEAT A FEW MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY SO THE LEEKS DO NOT BROWN.

POUR IN 3 CUPS OF WHITE WINE, THE BAY LEAVES, THYME SPRIGS, WHITE PEPPERCORNS, GINGER AND 3 UNPEELED CLOVES OF GARLIC.

BRING TO A BOIL, THEN REDUCE TO A SIMMER. COOK FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES, THEN ADD 2 CUPS OF WATER. BRING TO A BOIL, REDUCE TO A SIMMER. SIMMER FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE STOCK IS REDUCED BY HALF.

WHEN THE STOCK HAS COOLED, STRAIN OUT ALL THE SOLIDS, PRESSING DOWN ON THE SHRIMP SHELLS TO EXTRACT AS MUCH FLAVOR AS POSSIBLE.

MELT 3 TBSPS OF BUTTER IN A MEDIUM SAUCE PAN. THE BUTTER WILL MELT THEN FOAM. WHEN IT RUNS CLEAR, QUICKLY WHISK IN 3 TBSPS OF FLOUR.

CONTINUE STIRRING WITH THE WHISK ON A MEDIUM FLAME FOR A FEW MINUTES, TILL THE ROUX IS A PALE BROWN.

REMOVE FROM THE HEAT AND WHISK IN 3 CUPS OF SHRIMP STOCK. RETURN TO THE HEAT AND CONTINUE WHISKING ON A MEDIUM FLAME TILL THE MIXTURE SHOULD THICKEN INTO A VELOUTÉ IN 5 TO 8 MINUTES. IF NOT SERVING IMMEDIATELY, DOT WITH COLD BUTTER OR A TBSP OF HEAVY CREAM AND SET ASIDE.

TEN MINUTES BEFORE COOKING, ADD 3 TBSPS SALT TO THE BOWL WITH THE SHRIMP AND TOP WITH WATER. ALLOW TO SOAK FOR 10 MINUTES, THEN DRAIN, RINSE UNDER RUNNING WATER AND LAYER SHRIMP ON PAPER TOWELS TO DRY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

PEEL AND THINLY SLICE 3 GARLIC CLOVES.

BRING THE SHRIMP VELOUTÉ TO A SIMMER.

PLACE A LARGE SKILLET OVER HIGH HEAT FOR 2 MINUTES. ADD 3 TBSPS OF OLIVE OIL. SEASON THE SHRIMP WITH SALT AND PEPPER AND LAY IN THE PAN. SAUTÉ ON HIGH HEAT FOR 1 MINUTE. ADD 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER TO THE PAN. FLIP THE SHRIMP. TOSS IN THE SLICED GARLIC AND COOK FOR ANOTHER MINUTE. THE SHRIMP SHOULD BE BRIGHT PINK; THE GARLIC, BARELY COOKED, NOT BROWNED.

FOLD THE SHRIMP INTO THE SAUCE.

SPREAD THE SAFFRON RICE ON A SERVING PLATTER. SPOON THE SHRIMP ON TOP. GARNISH WITH FRESHLY CHOPPED TARRAGON AND/OR CHIVES.

SERVES 4

SAFFRON RICE
2

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 325º

PEEL AND DICE THE ONION.

HEAT THE CHICKEN STOCK IN A SAUCEPAN.

GRIND THE SAFFRON IN A MORTAR AND PESTLE WITH A PINCH OF SEA SALT.

MELT 1 TBSP OF NEUTRAL OIL AND 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER IN A SMALL CASEROLE OR A SAUCEPAN WITH A LID.

ADD THE ONION, COVER AND COOK FOR A MINUTE OR SO ON A LOW HEAT TO SWEAT THE ONION.

STIR IN THE RICE AND COOK FOR ANOTHER MINUTE SO ALL THE GRAINS ARE GLOSSY AND VERY SLIGHTLY BROWNED.

POUR 1 CUP OF BOILING STOCK INTO THE MORTAR TO DISSOLVE THE SAFFRON AND POUR INTO THE POT WITH THE RICE. POUR ANOTHER 2/3 CUP INTO THE MORTAR AND ADD TO THE RICE. RESERVE A BIT OF STOCK.

BRING TO A BOIL. SALT LIGHTLY. PLACE IN THE OVEN. AFTER 15 MINUTES, TEST THE RICE WITH A FORK. IF ALL THE LIQUID HAS ABSORBED AND IT'S STILL NOT QUITE COOKED, ADD A BIT MORE STOCK. BAKE ANOTHER FEW MINUTES TILL THE RICE IS DONE. TURN OFF THE OVEN. THE RICE WILL KEEP THAT WAY FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR BEFORE YOU'RE READY TO SERVE IT.

CREAMY SHRIMP WITH SAFFRON RICE
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