Monday, January 11, 2010

Arroz Amarillo Con Camarones a la Chorrera (Shrimp Rice Porridge)

"Arroz a la Chorrera" in Cuban slang or talk is rice cooked like a porridge, it's thick and soupy, usually made with short-grain rice, colored yellow with saffron, bijol, or achiote seeds. In my house we joke about it since "chorro" could be slang for diarrhea hehe... and chorrera could be having "chorro"... as in "Tengo chorrera" translates to "I have diarrhea... so we say... "rice diarrhea style" (yeah yeah I know sick humor) but "chorro" could also mean a strong burst of water...

In Spain however rices prepared like a thick porridge are usually called "Arroz Caldoso" (brothy rice) and is cooked with whatever you want, usually seafood like Calamari, or a combinations of shrimp, clams, etc.

I wasn't sure if I was gonna label this post "Arroz Caldoso Con Camarones" or "Arroz Con Camarones a la Chorrera" but I think I'll go with the label "a la Chorrera" since it's what we call it down here at home :) Usually when prepared we love to use a combination of clams and shrimp to make "Arroz Con Mariscos a la Chorrera" (rice and seafood porridge) but we had non on hand so we decided to make a delicious "Arroz Con Camarones a la Chorrera" (shrimp rice porridge)

-2 cups short-grain rice (like Bomba, Calasparra, Calrose, Arborio, etc.)
-1 1/2 lbs. shrimp (peeled and deveined, shells reserved)
-1 lbs. clams (I didn't have any but if you add them it will be wonderful :)
-9-12 cups shrimp stock (see directions, stock is made from reserved shrimp shells)
-2 cups more or less clam stock (optional only if using clams)
-1 onion finely minced
-1 green bell pepper minced
-6 cloves garlic minced
-4 oz. tomato sauce or 1 fresh grated tomato
-extra-virgin olive oil as needed
-1 cup fresh or frozen peas
-4 large carrots cut into rounds
-1 tablespoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika (Pimienton de la Vera)
-saffron to color rice yellow or 1 teaspoon bijol powder or achiote seed infused oil
-salt to taste
(1) Peel and devein the shrimp (in case you don't know how, you squeeze the end of the tails, pull back and remove half the peel then remove the rest, put in a bowl the peels and in another the shells) then to remove the black veins by using a knife and cutting open the back then removing the black string vein. Wash them away. Set aside.

(2) In a large or medium pot add shrimp shells and water, bring to a boil, remove foam and let boil for 5- 10 minutes, reserve stock.
(3) If using clams which I didn't have, put clams in a pot with enough water to barely cover them, leave on high heat, when the clams open, turn off heat, remove them, and strain stock and reserve. Set clams aside. (again I didn't have any wish I did)

(4) Alright now, heat a large pot with generous amounts of extra-virgin olive oil, sautee onions and bell peppers on medium high heat until translucent maybe 5-8 minutes, then add garlic sautee another 2-3 minutes, then add tomato let cook down another 5 minutes. Add shrimp stock about 12 cups (If you were using clams, add the clam stock and the rest of the stock should be shrimp), generous amounts of salt (the water has to be salty add about 3 teaspoons), coloring and sweet smoked Spanish paprika.

(5) Bring to a rolling boil on high heat, add washed rice lower heat to low, cover and simmer rice on low for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes, add and fold in carrots, higher heat back to high heat to bring to boil, simmer carrots 10 minutes on low, if the rice looks to thick for you at this point, you want it soupier add more stock or water with a pinch of salt until you reach desired consistency.

(6) Lastly fold in shrimp and clams(if using clams) and peas and let cook an additional 5 minutes.
(7) Serve in large bowls with a salad of your choice.

(1) If you don't have sweet smoked Spanish paprika, and want to season it in a more Cuban fashion don't use the paprika and replace it with 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 bay leaves, and black pepper to taste that's how my grandmother seasons it, I just prefer it with the sweet smoked Spanish paprika, also my grandmother doesn't add carrot but I like it for color and taste.

(2) I have a secret that makes mine extremely delicious it's not on my recipe list since it might be taboo for Spanish and Cuban Cuisine... but what makes mine extra special is I add 1 tablespoon of Fish Sauce (it's a type of sauce made of fermented fish) and 1 teaspoon monosodium glutamine to the stock...

(3) Also if interested in other versions of this dish you can check out Pilar Lechuza's recipe for "Arroz Caldoso Con Mariscos" she's a wonderful cook specializing in food from Galicia, Spain check out her blog sometime :)

Another good version is done with lobster and mussels she labeled it as "Lobster Soupy Rice" but I'm sure in Spanish she probably calls it "Arroz Caldoso Con Longosta" or something, this one is prepared by Nuria from Barcelona, Spain also very delicious you should also check out her blog :)

In addition there's also a great video by someone I do not know on youtube on preparing "Arroz Caldoso Con Mariscos" :)