Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shrimp, Cream & White Beans over Rice- Cajun Comfort Food

I love New Orleans, what an amazing combination of food, music and culture! Recently, while watching reruns of Anthony Bourdain's show "No Reservations", I noticed a dish I've never even heard of... Shrimp, Cream and White Beans over Rice.

I asked a buddy from New Orleans about a dish like this and he said he wasn't not famliar with it, and that fact coupled with very few recipes coming back when I searched online, lead me to believe that this is not a well known dish.  This recipe was adapted from one I found from a place called Cafe Reconcile's white beans and shrimp. I was thrilled to realize that this was the Cafe featured on Anthony Bourdain's show.  This is quite an amazling place that provides restaurant training for New Orlean's youth from kitchen to the front end contact with the customer... looks like a great place to check out next time I get back to New Orleans.  New Orleans is somewhere that gets in your blood and you just have to get back to...

I had a hard time deciding whether this dish was Cajun or Creole, but after doing a little research, I'm going to consider it Cajun.  The main difference that I could see that Cajun is Provincial French country inspired dishes with a Louisiana flair, while Creole was a blend of multiple cultures and more high class fare.  This dish also fits two categories to be Cajun: it has the "holy trinity" (a blend of onions, celery and bell pepper) and the "three pot" meal distinction, one for the main course, one for the rice and one for a vegetable. 

Makes 5-6 servings
2 15oz. cans of small white beans
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers, (I used a combination of colors!)
1/4 cup chopped garlic
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp butter
1/2  teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2  teaspoon black pepper
1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dash of hot sauce, to taste
2 cups half n half, or heavy cream

1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-3 tsp salt, to taste

Chop all the onion, celery and bell pepper in 1/4" to 1/2" dice. Saute in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes over medium high heat, stirring often.  Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 more minutes.  Add the butter and the flour and stir, the mixture will thicken a bit as the you cook it for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the thyme, cayenne and the hot sauce.  Add the undrained beans and the chopped parsley.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes over medium heat.  Add the half and half and stir as the mixture starts to thicken again.  Add the shrimp, and cook gently until pink. Adjust the seasoning with added salt as needed.

Serve over white rice and the hot sauce on the side!

Other Comfort Food you might be interested in:
Jambalaya- Chicken, Hot Links & Shrimp
Beef Stroganoff
Moroccan Pot Roast

1 comment:

  1. Shrimp & White Beans is a classic Lenten Creole dish. The presence onions, celery and bell pepper is NOT an indication of a dish's Provincial roots. Cajun=country; Creole=city (but not necessarily sophistication).

    Both Cajun & Creole are a blend of multiple cultures. Shrimp & White Beans is a comfort food dish (i.e. "slow food" that's rapidly dying because no one cooks anymore).