Tuesday, June 11, 2013

shrimp stew, a la martha

long time readers know i usually write about recipes that i have created.  or i post family recipes.  once in awhile i talk about recipes that i have "tweaked" from another source, giving proper credit to the original of course.  today i am sharing a recipe straight from martha stewart living...no edits or tweaks.  it was just that good.  so, just in case you don't get the magazine....or hesitated to try this dish...make it this week.  you will not be disappointed.

i have made the shrimp stew three times so far. the first was during a visit to my parents' home.  i spent two weeks with them and cooked most nights.  i purchased all the ingredients and started preparing only to discover they were out of white wine. i improvised with vodka and the result was delicious.  i have made the stew two additional times, once with white wine and another with the vodka.  both work so use what you have.  also, if you have never peeled/ deveined shrimp, please do not be intimidated.  and whatever you do...do not skip this step.  the shells add tons of flavor to the dish.  this process is not hard, but it does take some time so plan accordingly. here is a "how to" video from serious eats.  enjoy!

shrimp stew, a la martha
from martha stewart living magazine, may 2013
(serves 6)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, shells reserved, and deveined
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine (i used vodka one time when we were out of white wine)
  • 16 ounces clam juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 1/2 cups) and washed well
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 3 1/3 cups), fronds reserved for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, finely ground
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream (i used half and half to lighten up just a touch)
  • 1/2 lemon


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Add thyme sprigs and cook 1 minute. Add wine, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add clam juice and water and simmer 15 minutes. Pour broth through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids; discard solids.
  2. Melt butter in pot over medium-high heat and add leeks, fennel, and fennel seeds. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until vegetables just start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add shrimp broth and cream; cook until warmed through.
  3. Stir in shrimp and cook until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Divide stew among 6 shallow bowls and garnish with fennel fronds.

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