Back when I was in grad school in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, the was-band & I occasionally patronized a fabulous hole-in-the-wall Cajun food take-out place. We loved the BBQ shrimp there, but we could never remember the name of the place. We simply called it "Eat Mo' Bettah," in honor of the Cajun Chef guy on TV. (Y'all remember him?)
The jambalaya there was tasty, too. And one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten in my life was their Cream of Garlic soup. We could never figure out when The Soup Dreams Are Made Of would be on the menu, so it was a happy day indeed when we happened to hit it lucky and wander in on Cream of Garlic day.
The Teeter recently had 2 lb. bags of frozen shrimp on sale, which immediately brought to mind happy memories of BBQ Shrimp. Luckily, I have a recipe that's a dead ringer for the BBQ Shrimp of yore. I discovered it, in of all places, Desperation Dinners by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross.
This perky little cookbook promises "Home-cooked meals for frantic families in 20 minutes flat" and it mostly delivers on that promise, with mostly good results. Some recipes are fabulous, others, we prefer not to repeat. But most of the recipes are really pretty good. Of course, being the tinkerer that i am with recipes, I often reverse-engineer the recipes to make them a bit slower to prepare but better-tasting.
Happily, the BBQ Shrimp from Desperation Dinners only requires minimal tinkering for fabulous results. It's super-simple, & super-easy-- 3 quick steps!
I have a note on the recipe that says it's not too spicy for DS (added when DS was in kindergarten, i think), so this recipe is even kid-friendly.
DS and I enjoyed our delectable BBQ Shrimp over some Mahatma Saffron Rice, prepared in the microwave.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well the rice turned out! On the side we had some HT Garlic Bread (to sop up all that good sauce!) and a medley of leftover frozen veggies. I can highly recommend both the HT Garlic Bread (from the freezer section) and the Mahatma Rice mix. And both were purchased FREE with coupons (Suh-WEET!!).
As I've mentioned, the BBQ Shrimp is super-easy to prepare. I did a quick-thaw of my frozen shrimp in a sink-full of lukewarm water and had it thawed, peeled, and ready to roll by the time the rice had finished cooking in the microwave.
|I put a lb. of shrimp in a ziptop bag and used a glass pie plate to keep it submerged in lukewarm water to thaw.|
One of my more fastidious colleagues at the Teeter disdained to purchase the shrimp because it wasn't pre-peeled, but I am here to tell you, when they say "EZ-Peel," they aren't kidding. The shells are pre-slit down the belly of the shrimp and it takes just a second or two to get them off. Plus, the tail part comes intact out of the shell very easily-- which is wonderful, since DS has a "thing" about having ANY shell left on his shrimp. (He hates that little decorative bit of shell restaurants often leave on the tail.)
My thawed, peeled shrimp
There is one ingredient that can't be replaced in this recipe, however--- it's the Chili Sauce.
It is the secret to the whole dish. This isn't some fancy Thai Chili sauce, it's very ordinary stuff kind of like ketchup. In fact, if you've never tried it, you have probably seen it next to the ketchup in the store and just never noticed it. It's great for making quick cocktail sauce for shrimp-- just add a little horseradish, and presto, there you are. I always have a bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce in my fridge.
Here is my slightly adapted recipe for
Eat Mo' Bettah BBQ Shrimp
(I gar-on-tee you gonna love it!)
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T unsalted butter (or margarine, if you want to make this dairy-free)
1 T freshly minced garlic (from 5-7 cloves)
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. bottled chili sauce (preferably Heinz)
1 t. Cajun seafood seasoning blend (I use Paul Prudhomme's Seafood Magic)
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. dried thyme leaves
Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce to taste
1 lb. raw lg. shrimp, peeled
1. Spray a large, heavy skillet with non-stick spray. Heat over medium heat and add the EVOO and the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook 30 seconds-- don't let the garlic brown.
2. Add the chicken broth and raise the heat to high. Add the chili sauce, cajun seasoning, Worcestershire, thyme, and hot sauce (if using). Boil for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly thickened and the flavors have blended.
3. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring gently, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked-through, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and serve the shrimp and sauce over a bed of rice.
The Mahatma Saffron rice was terrific with the shrimp and sauce.
Here are the directions for cooking it in the microwave. I think you can follow the same directions with plain rice, just use 1 c. of rice and 2 c. of boiling water.
1. Combine the rice mix, 1 T butter or margarine, and 1 2/3 c. boiling water in a 1 1/2 qt. microwave-safe bowl.
2. Cover and cook on high for 3 minutes.
3. Reduce the microwave power to 50% power and cook, covered, for 17 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Makes 2 1/2 c. cooked rice. (DS and I managed to eat all but about 1 T of the rice-- Zelda was thrilled to eat what was left.)
Here is DS's plate,
C'mon, Y'all-- try some BBQ Shrimp and eat mo' bettah!