Source: Modified from the series “Cozinha Regional Brasileira” (Brazilian Regional Cuisine, http://www.cozinharegional.com.br), book 9 (Ceará)
History: As I mentioned before, shrimp is widely used in dishes throughout the Northeast region of Brazil. This one (“Camarão dragão do mar”) is made in a sauce with cachaça (a Brazilian alcoholic drink, made from distilled sugar cane).
Variation from the original: The original asked for shrimp stock, I used chicken stock (couldn’t find the shrimp one). I also fried the shrimp in garlic prior to using it in the dish, changed the decoration (couldn’t find leek in the supermarket, used green onions instead) and increased the amount of mushrooms and cream (we had more people to eat).
Ingredients from specialty stores: None, if you can find cachaça in a local liquor store. Where I live I sometimes can find it on the local liquor stores, but I always bring one when I come back from Brazil, so I never had to buy one in the US. If you can’t find it, a good rum would be a good substitute.
- 900g large shrimp (cooked, shelled, tail-off)
- 6 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 8 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup cachaça
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 small can of sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 4 cups cooked rice
- 1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts
- salt & pepper
Heat a large frying pan, add the olive oil and half of the the garlic. When the garlic starts “jumping” in the pan, add the shrimp, season it with salt and pepper, and stir until it starts browning, about 3 minutes. If the shrimp releases too much water, use a paper towel to take the excess out of the pan to prevent the shrimp from overcooking (and becoming rubbery). Reserve it.
In a small sauce pan, melt 2 tbsp. of butter along with the flour, salt and pepper, whisking it often. When the flour starts to change color, add the milk slowly, stirring it constantly. When the sauce starts to thicken, lower the temperature and stir once in a while.
In the same large pan used before, melt the remaining butter and add the onion, mixing occasionally. When it starts getting soft, add the remaining garlic. Flambé with the cachaça (I used a technique described in the book which worked quite well – put the liquor in a stainless steel ladle, gentle tilt it over an open flame until a flame appears on it, then pour it on the pan; the flames may get quite high, so having someone else is helpful during this step). When the flames disappear, add the stock, the mushrooms, the sauce from the small pan and the whipping cream, stirring. Add salt and pepper to season.
Add the shrimp to a serving dish and cover with half of the sauce from the large pan. Add the rice to the pan (with the remaining sauce) and stir it for two minutes. Sprinkle the nuts over the shrimp, and serve it with the rice, and some chopped green onions for decoration.