Apr 12, 2011

Shrimp Tchefuncte

The menu of every restaurant has a few classic dishes - ones that have been on the menu for years, and as such, have been perfected to the point where creating them is second nature to the chefs in the kitchen. Plus, there always seems to be some sort of story behind them, which makes them a little more dear to our heart. At Palace Cafe, one of these dishes is Shrimp Tchefuncte.

We were reminded just how special the dish is when Clara from Food Collage wrote one of those posts that us at the restaurant just love to read. Not only did she rave about eating Shrimp Tchefuncte at the restaurant, but she successfully made it at home. We're impressed! (Also, Clara, we regretfully need to inform you that the amount of butter included in the original recipe is correct; it is most definitely an indulgence. )

The dish is named for the Tchefuncte River, which was named after a local Native American tribe and is located just north of New Orleans. The part of the tribe that inhabited the coastal area was thought to have enjoyed the same seafood that we love so much today.

Feel free to dress up this signature dish by using jumbo shrimp and mixed wild mushrooms rather than domestic ones.

Shrimp Tchefuncte
Serves 6

LOUISIANA POPCORN RICE
½ cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups uncooked popcorn rice
3 cups water

CREOLE MEUNIÈRE SAUCE
3 lemons, peeled, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons Crystal hot sauce
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
4 cups (8 sticks) butter, chopped, chilled

SHRIMP
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled deveined
3 cups sliced domestic mushrooms
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
3 cups chopped green onions

For the rice, melt the butter in a medium saucepot and add the rice. Sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the water. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until the rice has absorbed the water and is tender. Cover and keep warm until serving time.

For the sauce, combine the lemons, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce in a medium saucepot and cook until reduced by 2/3. Add the whipping cream and cook until reduced by ½, whisking constantly. Add the chilled butter a few pieces at a time, mixing constantly until completely incorporated after each addition. Strain through a fine strainer into another saucepot and keep warm.

For the shrimp, sauté the garlic in the butter in a large sauté pan until golden brown. Add the shrimp, mushrooms and Creole seasoning. Sauté until the shrimp are ¾ cooked.

Reserve some of the green onions for garnish. Stir the remaining green onions and the meunière sauce into the shrimp and mushrooms. Cook over low heat until the shrimp are firm and cooked through.

To serve, pack the rice into a shallow cup and invert onto the serving plates; lift carefully. Spoon the shrimp and sauce around the Louisiana Popcorn Rice. Garnish with the reserved green onions.

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An insider's view on New Orleans food from the kitchens of Dickie Brennan's Restaurants.