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Shrimp Tchefuncte

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SHRIMP TCHEFUNCTE from the Palace Café

The Tchefuncte River, located north of New Orleans, was named after a local Native American tribe that once inhabited the area. The word "meunière" is French for "miller's wife", and refers to a style of cooking whereby food (usually fish) is seasoned, lightly dusted with flour and sautéed simply in butter. The sauce made from these drippings is combined with lemon juice and parsley.

This Creole version, as prepared by the Palace Café in New Orleans, is adapted from this and enhanced to create a creamy blend of tastes.

Rice Pilaf:

4 tablespoons butter

3 cups converted rice

1 medium onion, medium dice

6 cups chicken stock

Heat a 5 quart saucepan, then add butter and melt. Add onions and rice. Brown rice and onion on high heat, stirring constantly. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, cover and cook for approximateliy 20 minutes. Check for firmness, uncover and let sit for 10 minutes.

Meunière sauce:

3 lemons, peeled and quartered

7 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons Crystal hot sauce

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (UK: single cream)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Preparing the meuniere sauce: In a large sauté pan combine the lemons, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and whipping cream. Blend with a wire whisk over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. As you stir, press gently on the lemon quarters to slowly release the juices. Slowly add the butter by pinching off a little bit at a time and squeezing it through your fingers into the sauce pan, stirring constantly (this is called mounting the butter). As you add the last of the butter, remove from heat and continue to stir. Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine strainer. The sauce is now ready to serve; cover and keep warm.

Sautéed Shrimp:

3 cups white button mushrooms (or mix/substitute crimini or shiitake mushrooms if you like)

60 medium shrimp Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups chopped green onions (scallions)

6 tablespoons butter

Wash shrimp in cold water and season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan, then add shrimp, green onions and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly until shrimp just turn pink. When ready to serve, add the meunière sauce and heat through -- do not overcook the shrimp! To serve: Place the rice in a ring mold or cup (a shallow coffee cup will work fine). Invert the cup over the corner of the plate and lift slowly. Spoon Shrimp Tchefuncte around 3/4 of the rice.

Yield: 6 servings

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