Shrimp Pilau

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4 to 6

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Hoppin John’s Lowcountry Cooking

By John Martin Taylor

Published 1992

  • About

This dish of rice and shrimp is a classic in the Lowcountry. You will need a rich shrimp stock for an authentic flavor.


  • 4 thick slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped (about cups)
  • 4 (about pounds) ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus some for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups shrimp stock (use the heads and/or shells of the shrimp called for here)
  • pounds shrimp or bodies from 2 pounds heads-on shrimp, peeled


    In a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, cook the bacon on top of the stove until crisp. Remove the bacon, set aside to drain, and pour off all of the grease except about 3 tablespoons or enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until transparent. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and parsley and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the salt, rice, and stock, raise the heat for a moment or two, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat again, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes without lifting the lid. In the meantime, prepare corn bread, a perfect accompaniment to the pilau.

    After 20 minutes, lift the lid and fluff the rice with a big fork while tossing in the shrimp. Cover the pot again and turn off the heat. The pilau will be ready in 5 to 10 minutes, and the shrimp will not overcook.

    Crumble the reserved bacon and garnish the pilau with it and some chopped parsley. Serve with a tossed salad and corn bread.