…from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? I fell in love with recipes from the South while researching different cuisines for one of our clients. Most people just lump Southern Cuisine into one big “Gone with Wind” bucket, but when you get inside you find that every state, as well as areas within the states, have their own specialties that have been passed down from generation to generation.
While watching Smoke Ring on Discovery+ last night, hosted by Stephen Ray Tickle (a real life moonshiner), one of the contestants orchestrated a beautiful Lowcountry Perloo. It was a thing of beauty to behold. I had decided to skip dinner but suddenly, I was drooling, just watching it on TV.
In the Lowcountry region (the coastal areas of the Carolinas and Georgia), Perloo is a beloved rice dish often made with the region's plentiful shellfish. Like Jambalaya, Perloo starts with a flavorful base of rice simmered with tomato, bell pepper, celery, garlic and onion.
One-pot rice dishes are incredible easy and versatile, you can use chicken, seafood, sausage, and whatever vegetables you have on hand. These dishes are ideal for weeknight suppers.
You can get in a Lowcountry frame of mind with my delicious Shrimp Perloo recipe which can be ready in just 40 minutes. The size of the shrimp is key to this recipe—be sure to purchase medium-sized, not large, shrimp. They are stirred into the pot at the end of the cook time. The residual heat from the rice mixture cooks the shrimp to tender perfection, in about 3 to 5 minutes.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
4 thick-cut bacon slices (about 6 oz.), chopped
2 cups chopped sweet onion
1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup dry white wine (or moon shine, if you have it 😊)
2 (14.5 oz.) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
7 cups seafood stock (made from the heads and shells of shrimp)
3 cups uncooked basmati rice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/2 pounds raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup smoked Andouille sausage, sliced in rings
1/4 cup chopped fresh, flat-leaf parsley
ChefSecret: This dish works best with medium-sized shrimp. If the shrimp are too large, the rice mixture will cool off before the shrimp are cooked and you will have undercooked shrimp and lukewarm rice.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “When you serve this dish for company, they’ll be grinnin' like a possum eatin' a sweet tater.”
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