Camarones Enchilados

Creole-Style Shrimp

My friend Juanita Plana was born on a sugar plantation in the Cuban province of Las Villas, but has lived for many years in New York and Miami. Juanita comes from a family of good cooks. Camarones enchilados was a speciality of her mother, Emilia Luzarraga. Though it adds a few more minutes to the preparation time, Juanita says that her mother’s secret was to cook the sofrito slowly, long enough to let the onion and peppers soften and the flavors blend. This dish is good served with fluffy white rice and fried sweet plantains.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • cups finely diced onion (1 medium)
  • cups finely diced green bell pepper (1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (10¾-ounce) can tomato puree
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • pounds medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup roasted red peppers, drained and finely diced
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco), or to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, oregano, and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the sofrito, stirring occasionally, until the onion and pepper are softened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and wine. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the shrimp and roasted peppers. Cover and simmer gently until the shrimp turn opaque, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with hot sauce, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.