Friday, March 29, 2013

One good thing about a semi-empty* nest

You can have soup for dinner.

With green stuff in it and everything.

Shrimp and Sausage Cioppino

by Sharon Graves
Full credit to Giada.  I had spicy Italian sausage and a bag of shrimp in my freezer from hell**. So I googled "Shrimp and Sausage Stew" on a whim.  This recipe came up. With a minor mod to the method and the addition of two potatoes, I had a winner. My daughter had seconds and my husband had three and a half bowls.  My absent son would have hated it on principle.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (reserve and chop some of the fronds for garnish)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 c. dry white wine
  • 1/4 c. tomato paste
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium yukon gold or other waxy potatoes, peeled and coarsely diced
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half cross-wise
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c. fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme leaves

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, brown the sausage over medium high heat, breaking up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once it is brown and mostly cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the olive oil to the pot, along with the fennel, garlic, shallots, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 4 minutes.

Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the sausage to the pot. Stir in the tomato paste, chicken broth, potatoes, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are barely cooked.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Sprinkle the shrimp with a little salt and pepper, then add to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until just beginning to turn pink.

Uncover the soup pot. Add the butter and shrimp from the pan, the beans, basil, and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Ladle the cioppino into soup bowls, garnish with reserved fennel fronds, and serve with crusty bread to soak up the fantastic broth.   Or rice, to spoon into the soup, if you're trying to win my daughter over.  Works like a charm.

*Temporarily semi-empty.  He comes home tonight!
** Thanks to this fortunate outcome, and the fact that the ice maker seems to be mysteriously working again, the freezer and I are in détente at the moment.  That said, the kitchen design lady is coming by for an informal consult, just in case the truce does not hold.

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