Adapted from Beyond Parsley, the cookbook of the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri
Serves six generously.
Easily doubled or tripled for a large group, but do not multiply quantity of olive oil. This is also a good dish if you have a vegetarian in the group – just set aside some of the Caneel mixture before you add the shrimp, and serve it over rice to your vegetarian friend.
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
½ cup diced celery
1/3 cup olive oil
1 16-oz can diced Italian plum tomatoes, and then all or part of a second can, depending on how tomato-y you want it.
1 cup tomato puree
¼ tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large clove garlic, mashed
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp pepper or to taste
2 Tablespoons curry powder or to taste
Heaping Tablespoon brown sugar or more to taste
2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined (I use frozen cooked shrimp from Costco)
Slivered almonds (toast them if you have time)
In a large saucepan, stock pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions, green pepper and celery is oil, stirring until soft. Add tomatoes, puree, basil cayenne, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; add curry powder and brown sugar and lower heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes. If sauce is too thick, thin with water or chicken broth. (Dish may be prepared to this point and refrigerated for a day or so or frozen for up to week)
Add shrimp and simmer until shrimp are cooked. Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice with condiments.
Make the most of the lovely red-orange color by centering Shrimp Caneel in a ring of Creamy Lemon Rice or a bed of pasta, with condiments on the side.
Tip from Merrily: If you have leftover Shrimp Caneel, zizz it in the food processor until it is a tapenade texture and serve it as an appetizer with crostini or crackers. It's delicious!
Creamy lemon rice
½ cup unsalted butter
2 cups long-grain rice
Grated zest of 2 lemons
3 cups chicken broth, boiling (or vegetable broth if you serving a vegetarian)
1 teaspoon salt
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground pepper
Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in rice and zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until rice is opaque, about 5 minutes. (At this point you can stop preparation and let the mixture sit for a couple of hours or so)
Add boiling broth and salt; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in lemon juice. Slowly stir cream into rice. Continue to stir on low until cream is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Season to taste.
6 – 8 servings
The cream can be eliminated, and the rice is still delicious.
Serving suggestion: Start with a first course of crabmeat tossed with mango, lime juice, and red onion on endive leaves. Serve Buenavista coconut cake for dessert. (recipe below)
Merrily's Buenavista Coconut cake
1 18 ½ - ounce box yellow cake mix, the kind with pudding
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 ½ cups sour cream
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar or to taste
1 7-ounce can or bag Baker's sweetened coconut
Prepare cake according to package directions, substituting whole milk for water. Bake, as directed in two round cake pans. Cool and split each layer, making four thin layers. Prepare frosting by whipping heavy cream and sour cream together until soft peaks form. (A stand mixer is best for this job.) Gradually beat in sugar, then stir in most of the coconut, reserving about a quarter cup. Frost top of each layer, stack and frost sides. Sprinkle reserved coconut over top. Serves 12.
(Can be made a day ahead; refrigerate then bring to room temperature to serve.)
Note: you might have too much frosting, but better too much than not enough!