This one-dish recipe provides a hearty meal with remarkable complexity of flavor and fragrance.
Mistress Tess has been slaving away at an intense technical project, and I’ve been enjoying a bit of leisure (for a grown-up, leisure can include stuff like cooking and washing dishes or any work not done at the whim of a boss, a client or a creditor,) so it occurred to me to stick an IV into the vein of this blog and try to drip a little animation into it while you faithful followers await the return of its true spirit.
If there are any truly attentive readers of this blog they will remember a post in which Tessie said “…easy enough for Mr.Tess to make….” WELL! P’raps I should have been offended, but I do acknowledge my skills do not compare with a true cook’s. I chose this recipe because of that shortcoming. It really is fairly simple and yields a tasty meal, of which even Fussy Miss Tessie ate two helpings.
Hiroko Shimbo’s Chorizo and Shrimp Rice
adapted from Hiroko’s American Kitchen
(Cooking with Japanese Flavors)
Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC 2012
2 1/2 Cups long or medium grain brown rice (for rice cooker: 3 rice cooker cups)6 onces uncooked spicy Italian pork sausage or 3 ounces Spanish style chorizo10 ounces small shrimp, shelled, peeled and deveined.2 cloves garlic, peeled1 tablespoon Canola oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
Pinch of Saffron
1 cup clam juice
3 1/2 cups kelp stock (not the right amount!)
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup thinly sliced ginger.
Simply put; the shrimp, chorizo and prepared ingredients are steamed atop a bed of rice, cooking in a light broth. At the point where the rice has cooked and you are letting it sit for ten minutes, you then scatter the ginger and the now-sliced chorizo over the top.
I’m sure that thorough rinsing of the rice according to Ms. Shimbo’s method and then soaking and draining it is essential to the quality of the end result.
Then, sautee the onion for 2 minutes , until transparent. Add the garlic and saffron and cook for 20 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook just until it turns white.
Place the drained rice, clam juice and stock in a medium pot. Level the surface of the rice and evenly scatter the onion and shrimp mixture on top of the rice, then follow with the whole chorizo, peas and salt. Do not stir the rice. Cover and cook as instructed on page 21.
After the rice is cooked, remove the chorizo and slice into 1/2 inch dice. Scatter the chorizo and ginger slices on top of the rice. Do not stir the rice. Immediately cover the pot and let stand for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and gently fold the rice and ingredients together with a spatula. Serve in small bowls.
Note from Tess:
Mikey is old enough to vote!
And he’s apparently 85 years old in human years.
(according to the info sheet at the vet’s)
Though he’s looking a bit scruffy, and is under the weather,
he is carrying on!
There is some misdirection in the instructions. For the rice preparation Ms.Shimbo refers us to her very detailed instructions on pages 20 and 21, which I followed to the letter, but something did not look right when I got to the point of adding the liquids to the rice. The 3 1/2 cups of kelp stock along with one cup of shrimp broth left several inches of liquid above the top of the rice. This condition made the next step, “level the surface of the rice,” impractical. Besides, the rice instructions on page 20 require 2 4/5 cups of water for 2 1/4 cups of rice. Well, as we say in the building trades; “Ain’t my first rodeo!” so I dumped out enough liquid so that the top of the rice was just a buffalo hair below the surface. It was guess work, because I had pre-soaked the rice as Hiroko’s Laws dictate, but had not measured the amount I drained out, which would have given me an idea how much water had been absorbed. (Ignore the foregoing if it makes no sense; it will when you read the book.)
Allow me some self-defense here: Years ago in our early relationship I used to walk over to Tess’s apartment for dinner. She was learning to cook, but like the artist she is, she made sure, even with the three pots she owned, that her production was excellent. I said one night, “you’re going to spoil me.” and she said, “That’s the idea!” Years later she was not always so enthusiastic; when we first watched the movie Tampopo, she identified with the mother in one scene, who must rise from her deathbed, because hubby and kids have arrived home and must be fed before she can die in peace. Tess could, of course, have saved a lot of labor by serving up frozen dinners and such, but that was never her style; so, long before foodblogs and foodies sprung up in the landscape, my family and I were eating works of art by 1tess (or whoever she was back then.)
Envious you may be, but there is a tiny bit of a downside to the blessed experience of my married life. Decades later, when I started regularly cooking again, I could no longer be satisfied with my old one-pot bachelor specials, as when I could dump a can of this and a can of that into the pot, heat and eat, and–why bother with dishes? No. No more of that swill; in order to please myself, but even more, to reciprocate some of the caring I have received, I have had to learn a few things and attempt to practice cooking techniques I had been vaguely observing for years. All this is by way of saying I am not a chef, but not inexperienced.
The first time cooking this recipe I scrupulously followed the procedures, but freely substituted some ingredients. We needed to minimize the chasing-around-after-ingredients phase, since the chasing around has been in deep snow and sub-zero temperatures. The shrimp already in the freezer was larger than the recipe recommends; the Mexican grocery where we got the (wrong kind of) chorizo also had Flor de Azafrán, an inexpensive alternate to pure saffron. Some of the kelp stock was replaced by dashi that I pulled from the freezer, and instead of clam juice I followed Ms. Shimbo’s suggestion of brewing a broth from the shrimp shells and tails. I also used short grain, Japanese style white rice instead of the longer grain brown rice. Probably my largest variance was forgetting to add the ginger at the end.
It was still delicious, although the presentation may not have had the elegance of Tess’s settings, and the bottom of the rice got a bit scorched due to my unscientific estimation of the proper quantity of liquid.
The second time through, a few days later, the ingredients matched the list a bit more closely. This time we had chorizo in a casing, although it was still the Mexican kind, not Spanish. I bought a jar of clam juice, but decided to use the shrimp shell stock again once I saw the quantity of shells that came from the frozen Texas shrimp. I remembered the ginger, which I sliced as thin as I could get it in my first venture using Tess’s mandoline slicer (a.k.a. “the finger nibbler.”) This time I managed to determine how much water the rice grains had absorbed during the 30 minute soaking period (about 3/8 of a cup,) and so used the correct quantity of liquids, without burning the bottom ( I also modified the author’s rice cooking technique and used what best suits my stove).
The result was like a cross between Paella and a delicate Stir Fry. The flavors permeate the rice, but because the pot has not been stirred, there are gradations of taste and fragrance from top to bottom. I occasionally make Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice) dishes, trying to replicate the one our departed friend, Carlos Villafañe, made for us years ago over a campfire on Ontario’s Bruce Penninsula.
Those dishes also impart a lovely flavor to the rice, but Tess objects to the mushiness that goes along with the flavor. This dish of Ms. Shimbo’s lets each kernel of rice keep its character and texture, but also fills each one with the blended flavors of the other ingredients. Does it taste Japanese? Well, I think the Japanese should claim it before someone else does!