Friday, May 6, 2011

Pina Colada Shrimp with Pigeon Peas and Rice

Caribbean food, Mon!

     Pineapple, coconut milk and rum is what a pina colada cocktail is made with.  Pina colada was one of my favorite drinks for relaxing at a beach chiki hut, while watching a sunset.  There are many recipes that combine coconut and pineapple throughout the tropics worldwide.  Good rum adds a nice caribbean flavor.  The flavor of pina colada is very nice with chicken, seafood and pork.  Shrimp is my favorite for a pina colada sauce.
     By the way, this is not the only pina colada style that there is.  There must be over 100 different entrees and appetizers that are called pina colada.  Some are fried with no sauce.  Some are baked.  Some are made with pate a choux.  Do not think that there is only one way that a pina colada flavored recipe should be cooked!
     Pigeon peas and rice are popular on nearly every island in the caribbean.  I learned some caribbean cooking from a few european and American chefs who ran the kitchens in tropical resorts.  I also learned from caribbean island locals.  Most of the locals who live on the islands eat plain simple tasty food.
     I worked with an Austrian chef who ran a restaurant in Barbados resort.  His food was the most interesting French caribbean food that I have ever seen.  I also worked on Marco Island was another caribbean chef who ran a resort in the Bahamas.  He liked to garnish each plate with 2-3 fine creative salsas.
     Anyway, I have not posted many caribbean recipes in this food site so far, but I will be posting more.  Caribbean cooking is some of my favorite cooking.
     Pigeon Peas and Rice: 
     Bring 2 cups of light chicken broth to a boil in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 1 cup of long grain white rice.
     Add 1/2 cup of rinsed pre-cooked or canned pigeon peas.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of turmeric.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Let the rice mixture simmer for almost twenty minutes, till the rice becomes fully cooked and tender.
     Keep the rice warm on a stove top.
     Stir the pigeon peas and rice before serving.
     Pina Colada Shrimp: 
     There is only one true pina colada flavor, but there are hundreds of different caribbean and Floribbean pina colada cooking recipes!  This recipe is one style of many.
     Peel and devein 8 large shrimp, but leave the tails attached.
     Dredge the shrimp in flour.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add the floured shrimp.
     Saute the shrimp, till they become halfway cooked.
     Add 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped pineapple.
     Saute to golden highlights appear on the pineapple.
     Add 3 ounces of amber rum.
     FlambĂ©!  (optional)
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 3/4 cup of coconut milk.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground ginger.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin sauce consistency.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Stir the sauce.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Pina Colada Shrimp with Pigeon Peas and Rice:
     Use a ring mold to place the pigeon peas and rice on the middle of a plate.
     Place the shrimp on the plate around the rice.
     Spoon the pineapple rum coconut milk sauce (pina colada sauce) over the shrimp.
     Garnish the rice with an Italian parsley sprig and a couple of thin lime slice curls.
     Sprinkle some thin sliced green onion over the shrimp.
     Coconut milk cannot be heated at a high temperature or it will break and separate.  The flour on the shrimp helps to thicken the sauce.  The nice tropical flavor of pineapple, rum and coconut is perfect for the shrimp.  Pigeon peas and rice is a classic accompaniment for this recipe.
     Just close your eyes, take a bite of the pina colada shrimp and pretend that you are in a tropical island paradise!  Ya Mon!  ...  Shawna            

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