For an anniversary, re-create parents' favorite Shrimp Pie

Ask the Chef

Sunday Gourmet

October 05, 2003|By Jim Coleman & Candace Hagan | Jim Coleman & Candace Hagan,Knight Ridder / Tribune

My mom and dad went out to dinner a while back and enjoyed something called "Shrimp Pie." I don't know the name of the restaurant, but I was wondering if you had a similar recipe. I would like to make it for their 25th wedding anniversary.

Now I know you mark the first anniversary with paper (or clocks, depending on whether you're traditional or modern), the 15th is crystal or watches, and everyone knows the 50th is gold. But I had no idea the 25th was Shrimp Pie!

Unfortunately, I wasn't with your parents when they dined on shrimp pie at the restaurant with no name. So I'm going to make it the way I like anniversary gifts -- traditional. What that means, Amanda, is that you have a little work ahead of you.

You have to make a savory pie crust (so you can't buy one of those pre-made types at the grocery store). I'm giving you a hot-water crust recipe, which is the easiest to make, in my opinion. Feel free to play around with what you put inside the pie along with the shrimp.

Don't worry, it's not too tricky -- just wait until the 30th anniversary, because everyone knows that's the one you celebrate with wild mushroom pate.

Traditional 25th Anniversary Shrimp Pie

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers

1/2 cup celery

salt to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/3 cup chopped tomatoes

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup bottled clam juice

4 large eggs, beaten

Warm the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, thyme and cayenne. Saute for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden and wilted. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Dissolve the flour in the water and add to the pan. Add clam juice. Stir for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat. Let cool for at least 30 minutes. Stir in the beaten eggs.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the shrimp mixture into the prepared piecrust. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the edges of the pie crust are golden. Cool for several minutes.

Hot Water Savory Pie Crust

1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon shortening

2 tablespoons hot water

1 1/2 teaspoons milk

1 1/8 cups flour

pinch of cayenne

2 teaspoons chopped, fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

Place shortening in a large bowl. Pour hot water and milk over the shortening. With a dinner fork, break up the shortening into smaller pieces. Tilt bowl and beat quickly until the mixture looks like whipped cream. This will take 3 to 5 minutes of constant beating.

In small bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients. Add them to the shortening mixture and combine well with the fork until the dough forms a ball that cleans the bowl.

Tear off 2 pieces of waxed paper. Lightly moisten a large cutting board and place 1 sheet of paper on it. Put the ball of dough on the paper and cover it with the other sheet. Using a rolling pin, press on the dough, rolling it from the center out to the edges.

Keep rolling until the pastry is larger than an upside-down pie pan. Be careful to keep the dough as even as you can. Peel off the top paper and use the bottom sheet to flip the dough into the pie pan.

Carefully peel off the second sheet of waxed paper, holding the paper close to the pastry so you don't tear it. Gently push the pastry down to the bottom and sides of the pan. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. Makes a single pie crust.

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