December 23, 2009

Savory Shrimp with Mushrooms and Bell Peppers

Today’s recipe is from Tabasco. Enjoy!

The diet of the Reconstruction South was bland and monotonous, especially by Louisiana standards. So Edmund McIlhenny decided to create a pepper sauce to give the food some spice and flavor — some excitement. Selecting and crushing the reddest peppers from his plants, he mixed them with Avery Island salt and aged this “mash” for 30 days in crockery jars and barrels. McIlhenny then blended the mash with French white wine vinegar and aged the mixture for at least another 30 days. After straining it, he transferred the sauce to small cologne-type bottles with sprinkler fitments, which he then corked and sealed in green wax. (The sprinkler fitment was important because his pepper sauce was concentrated and best used when sprinkled, not poured.)

Edmund McIlhenny was given seeds of Capsicum frutescens peppers that came from Mexico or Central America. And he first planted them on Avery Island, Louisiana, over 130 years ago. Today, just as then, when the peppers reach the perfect shade of deep red and are at their juiciest, they are carefully picked by hand. (Young peppers are green, then turn yellow, orange, and, finally, deep red as they age.) When in doubt, pickers can gauge the color by comparing it to a small wooden dowel, “le petit bâton rouge,” painted the preferred hue of TABASCO® red.

Check out this offer for a Tabasco coupon.

Savory Shrimp with Mushrooms and Bell Peppers

1 quart water
1 bay leaf
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup light cream
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon Original TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce
Garlic powder
Hot cooked rice

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan; add bay leaf and shrimp. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, just until shrimp turn pink. Do not overcook. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon and set aside; reserve liquid.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in saucepan; add bell peppers and onion and sauté lightly. With slotted spoon, remove to bowl containing shrimp. Add mushrooms to saucepan and cook over low heat until soft. Remove to bowl with shrimp and vegetables.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in saucepan; whisk in flour. Add light cream, 3/4 cup of reserved shrimp broth, wine, and TABASCO® Sauce. Cook and stir until thickened.

Season sauce to taste with garlic powder and paprika. Gently stir in shrimp and vegetables and heat through. Serve over rice.

Makes 4 servings.

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