Wednesday, December 28, 2011

MRS. REARDY'S SHRIMP AND ARTICHOKE CASSEROLE



Sharon and I chose the Fish and Shellfish chapter for our cooking The Essential New York Times Cook Book project. This casserole has an interesting history.  Viola Reardy who was Adlai E. Stevenson's housekeeper and cook served this casserole for lunch to President Kennedy and UN Acting Secretary General U Thant. This was back in 1962.

When I started this blog I decided to only post recipes that I thought were really great. When Sharon made this recipe she didn't think it was in the really great category. I told her that I shouldn't post it but she told me it needed tweaking to make it better. She gave me a sample. Yes, she was right. But it is really good and in cooking our way through this cook book we agreed to cook the recipe exactly as written the first time. I noticed that the recipe calls for paprika. Amanda Hesser who wrote the book mentions that paprika in this recipe only adds color however, she recommends that you can update the recipe by using smoked paprika which would add a spicy, smoky flavor. I agree, so give this recipe a try but make it your own by using a little something to kick it up a notch.



After quickly cooking the shrimp and setting them aside, you make a cream sauce.



Artichoke hearts are arranged over the bottom of a buttered casserole dish.



The shrimp is scattered on top of the artichokes.



The mushrooms are cooked in butter and cooked until brown.



and spooned over the shrimp and artichokes.



The cream sauce is poured over the contents in the baking dish.



The last step is to sprinkle the dish with Parmesan cheese and paprika before baking for 20 minutes.



MRS. REARDY'S SHRIMP AND ARTICHOKE CASSEROLE

1 pound small shrimp, shelled and deveined
6 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 14-ounce can artichokes hearts, drained, or one 9 ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, cooked according to the package directions
¼ pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
¼ cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Paprika
1.)     Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan.  Add the shrimp and cook for 15 seconds.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp.  Reserve both the shrimp and broth.

2.)    Melt 4 ½ tablespoons butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  When blended, gradually add the milk and cream, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.  Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking, until thickened and smooth.  Season well with salt and pepper; remove from the heat.

3.)    Arrange the artichokes over the bottom of a buttered 8 inch square baking dish.  Scatter the shrimp over the artichokes.

4.)    Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown on the edges, 5 to 8 minutes.  Spoon the mushrooms over the shrimp and artichokes.

5.)    Add the sherry and Worcestershire to the cream sauce.  If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it with a little reserved shrimp broth and milk.  Pour it over the contents of the baking dish.

6.)    Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and paprika and bake for 20 minutes.

Cooking notes:  If you use frozen artichoke hearts, undercook them slightly.  Also slightly undercook the shrimp when you boil them.

This casserole was served for lunch to President Kennedy and UN Acting Secretary General U Thant.


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