This Mexican Spicy Roasted Shrimp and Potatoes Stew is tried, true and repeated! Tangy with lime, cilantro and tomatoes, earthy with roasted potatoes and sweet with roasted sweet potatoes and shrimp, it makes an excellent, relatively fast meal!
Guys I have so many really, really delicious dishes on this blog that just are not feeling the love.
And it is my own fault, I know. I was stubborn for a long time about the photography end of this business–food blogging, that is. I frankly did not want to take the time and effort to learn it. I made delicious food and I wanted to write about it. But now, years later, I cringe at so many of those really early photos. And even the photos that came after that, from say 2009 through early 2013 (yikes! So long!), are sub par. I did not understand white balance (heck I still do not completely understand white balance), I did not want to photograph by a window (now I have a table that lives by a window), I did not want to set up a tripod, and I did not even own a DSLR until 2012.
I don’t know what changed really. I just tried shooting by the window one day, using the tripod that had been gathering dust, and really I think the results were the impetus that kept me returning to the window. It is an ongoing process–I still mess up, like not reserving some fresh cilantro for this dish, but in general I have been really happy with my photos.
Which just makes me cringe all the more when I look at old photos. Especially when I look at them on social media. So it occurred to me, given that I occasionally remake dishes to improve the photography, next time I am at a loss for what to cook or bake, why not look for some fabulous dish that my family loved but never got to enjoy again (since their cook is a food blogger always looking for the new and interesting). Redux is going to become the (occasional) theme around here!
First up is this Spicy Roasted Shrimp and Potatoes Stew, which I made way back in the summer of 2010. Originally adapted from Rick Bayless, my notes indicate that we loved this soup. Like loved it, loved it. In 2010 of course Alex was barely 5, and that was just at the end of that delightful phase where every night she announced whatever I had made was The Best!!!!!! of whatever its kind. So everyone ate the soup quite happily this time, but alas Alex has outgrown those delightful exclamations that used to accompany nearly every single dinner.
Something else hilarious that has changed? My kids are a lot bigger and eat a lot more! We did not eat all of the stew this first night, but unlike the first time, there was not enough left for a second night. Instead John got the leftovers all to himself. And yes, the stew was definitely as good as I remembered.
- 2 lbs medium/large shrimp
- 2 T ground ancho chile pepper
- juice of 3-4 limes, just enough to coat shrimp
- 1 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (I like to leave the skins on), or equivalent
- 1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, cubed (I often peel sweet potatoes, but you can go either way)
- extra virgin olive oil for tossing the potatoes
- salt and pepper
- 1 small-medium onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes, quartered, OR 1 28-oz can of good quality whole tomatoes, drained
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cups good quality chicken stock (storebought is fine but use low sodium)
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- juice of 1 lime plus lime wedges for serving
- cilantro sprigs for garnishing
Whisk together the juice of 3-4 limes and ancho chile powder. Toss the shrimp in this mixture, no more than an hour before serving, and place in a sealed container in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 450 F. While it is heating, toss the potatoes with oil and salt and and pepper. You can make the potatoes either before or after the broth because the longer the broth sits the more its flavor improves anyway, do whichever works better for your schedule. Place the potatoes in the oven and begin roasting them. While they roast for a few minutes, quickly prepare the sweet potatoes (which take less time to cook in my experience) and toss them with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add them to the other potatoes, and toss the entire mixture.
Let roast until tender and charred, about 20 minutes, but it will depend on the size of your potato cubes so keep an eye on them.
In the meantime make the broth.
Puree the onion, garlic and tomatoes in a processor until smooth. In a 4-6 quart pot, heat the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat. When it shimmers and is hot enough to make water sizzle, add the puree and stir constantly until the puree reduces to the thickness of tomato paste, 10-12 minutes (be prepared, you will get splattered). Stir in the stock and fresh herbs and reduce the heat to medium low, partially covering the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes. Before serving, add the juice of one lime and taste for salt.
At this point the broth is made. In the meantime, when the potatoes are done but not too brown because they’ll be there another few minutes, stir them and make a hole in the center of the pan. Drain the shrimp of the extra lime juice and then place the shrimp on the pan (if you are cooking all 2 lbs of shrimp at once, which I did not, you might want to use a second pan, in which case oil it thoroughly–the potato pan should be greased enough). Roast until curved and almost but not quite opaque. You want the shrimp slightly undercooked because they will cook further when the simmering broth is ladled over them.
Place potatoes and shrimp in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle simmering broth over it and garnish with some cilantro and a lime wedge.