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Seafood-Smothered Potatoes

Paul Prudhomme's
Louisiana Tastes:
Exciting Flavors from
the State That Cooks

by Paul Prudhomme, 2000,
William Morrow and Company, Inc.

Makes 8 side-dish or 4 main-course servings

“If you prefer, you can use all chicken stock or all fish stock instead of the
two different stocks. And you certainly can use all one color of bell peppers,
instead of the three colors, but I like the way the three colors look. I really
like this dish, too – it goes great with just about any kind of seafood and is
wonderful all by itself!
This recipe is completely traditional, with nothing new to it – just typical
south Louisiana fare. It’s a perfect example of not fixing something that’s
not broken.”

Seasoning Mix
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions, in all
3/4 cup seeded and chopped green bell peppers, in all
3/4 cup seeded and chopped red bell peppers, in all
3/4 cup seeded and chopped yellow bell peppers, in all
1 1/2 cups fish stock, in all
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, in all
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 pounds white potatoes, peeled and cut
into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound peeled raw shrimp, 21 to 25 shrimp
per pound (about 1 pound unpeeled)
1 pint shucked oysters in their liquor

1. Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4-quart pot, preferably non-stick, over
high heat just until it begins to smoke, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 cup of
the onions, 1/2 cup of each color bell peppers, and 1 teaspoon of the
seasoning mix. Cover and cook, uncovering every 2 minutes to stir
and scrape the bottom of the pot, until the colors of the vegetables
have faded and they are just beginning to brown, about 6 to 8 min-
utes. Add 1/2 cup of the fish stock and the remaining seasoning mix.
Stir, re-cover, and cook, uncovering every 2 minutes to stir, until the
mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Uncover and add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, then scrape the bottom
of the pot well to loosen any of the brown bits and dissolve them into
the liquid. Re-cover and cook until the mixture begins to stick again,
about 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup onions,
the remaining 1/4 cup each color bell pepper, and the garlic. Re-cover
and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated and what remains has
tiny steam vent holes all over the surface, about 4 minutes. Scrape the
bottom well, loosening any brown bits that stick to it. Re-cover and
cook for 2 more minutes, then uncover and add 1/2 cup of the fish
stock. Cook, uncovered, stirring every 2 minutes and scraping the
bottom of the pot, until the vegetables are soft and have absorbed
color from the seasoning mix and the liquid has almost evaporated,
8 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup chicken stock. The liquid
is a beautiful deep brown and the vegetables are brightly colored,
but the taste is very bitter at this point, with a very high level of
seasonings, overpowering the milder vegetable taste.
3. Scrape the bottom of the pot well, then add the potatoes. Stir well
and cover, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook, uncovering every
5 minutes to stir and scrape the bottom of the pot, until the potatoes
are fully cooked and soft, and the sauce is very thick, about 35 to 40
minutes. During this time there will be a lot of bubbling going on!
And the potatoes will be so soft that they will begin to disintegrate
and thicken the liquid – but that’s great, because they add wonderful
flavor and texture. At the end of the 35 to 40 minutes, the sauce has
a faint seafood taste and a light brown gravy flavor softened by the
starchy potato taste, which spreads across the tongue. The seasonings
are still pronounced. Now add the shrimp, oysters and oyster liquor.
Cover and cook just until the seafood is cooked through but still ten-
der, about 3 to 4 minutes. Watch the shrimp as a guide – they will
become plump and opaque when they’re done – and don’t over-
cook, or they’ll be tough. The final appearance is very much like a
stew, and the final taste is of fully balanced potato and seafood
gravy flavors. Serve piping hot.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Cajun Pot au Feu
Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish
Paul Prudhomme's Eggplant Bayou Teche
Paul Prudhomme's Seafood-Dirty Rice
Stuffed Mirlitons

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