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Author Notes: Portugal has a long ocean front bathed by cold Atlantic waters. Due to the low temperature and iodine rich waters, fish and shellfish have a very good taste and texture.
Seafood Rice is a typical dish from the coast of Portugal and is very common in restaurants along the coast. The rice is quite runny in the sense that it has a lot of sauce so the proportion of broth to rice is higher then for a dry rice. As its name implies, this recipe is made using several types of seafood like shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster, crab and scallops.The combination of shellfish used varies from region to region, according to the recipe, availability and price. The shellfish is always previously cooked and the rice is cooked in their broth. If using deep frozen pre-cooked seafood read note 2 at the bottom of the recipe. —Maria Teresa Jorge
Serves 6 - 8
- 2 1/2 cups medium grain rice, not washed
- 3 cups shrimp broth (from cooking the shrimp)
- 2 cups clam/mussels broth (from cooking the clams and mussels)
- 1 1/2 pounds whole fresh shrimp (or lobster and crab)
- 1 pound very fresh mussels in their shells
- 1 pound very fresh clams in their shells
- 2 medium yellow onions finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut in medium cubes
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes, skin and seeds removed and cut in pieces or use canned tomatoes in pieces
- 1 piece of green pepper the size of a thumb, no seeds, cut in strips (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped, without the inner green part
- 2 whole garlic cloves crushed, not peeled
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves chopped
- 8 sprigs fresh coriander with stalk
- 8 sprigs fresh parsley with stalk
- 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 or 2 dry red chillies (depends how hot you like your food)
- 8 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Rinse the clams very well and put them in a big bowl with very salted water (like seawater) and allow them to sit for 1 hour so they expel any sand in them.
- Rinse the mussels very well, remove any barnacles, sand or grit and their beard.
- Peel the onion and chop very finely. Peel the garlic, remove the inside green part and chop very finely.
- Wash the coriander, keep 8 stalks with leaves, the rest remove the leaves pat dry and finely chop.
- Wash the parsley and set aside.
- Cut the green pepper in thin slices.
- Peel and remove the seeds of the tomatoes and put in a colander over a bowl to loose excess water.
- In a big pot with a tight fitting lid, over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the 8 sprigs of fresh coriander with stalks and 2 whole crushed garlics with skin. When the garlic starts to sizzle (still white), add the thoroughly cleaned clams, stir to coat well with the hot olive oil and cover with a lid. Allow to cook for 4 minutes shaking the pan once in a while so the clams move around inside the pot and get in contact with the heat. Remove from the heat, remove the clams and put them in a bowl, allowing to cool. Discard any clams or mussels which have not opened.
- Re-heat the clam broth and add the mussels, cover and allow to cook 4 minutes, shaking the pan in the same way. Remove from the heat and remove the mussels to another bowl and allow to cool. Remove from the heat and remove the mussels to another bowl and allow to cool. Strain the clam and mussel broth through a very fine mesh sieve, discarding the last part of the water that normally has a little bit of sand. Set aside the clam and mussel broth.
- When cool enough to handle, reserve 8 clams and 8 mussels in their shells for garnish and the others discard the shells.
- Strain the broth through a very fine mesh sieve, discarding the last part of the water that normally has a little bit of sand. Set aside the clam and mussel broth.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil seasoned with salt and cook the whole shrimp for 3 minutes. Remove the shrimps from the water, reserving the latter. Remove the heads, shell and vein of the shrimps reserving 8 shrimps with their head and tail but no shell.
- Take 3 cups of the shrimp water, bring to a boil, add the heads of the shrimp, the cubbed carrots and allow to cook for 20 minutes covered. Put everything in a food processor, blend very well and then strain through a very fine mesh sieve and set aside the broth.
- In a pan with a tight fitting lid, over medium heat, add the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the chopped onion until translucent. Add the chopped garlic, fry an extra 1 minute, add the chillies, chopped tomatoes, paprika, parsley with stalks, green pepper (optional) and the bay leaves. Stir well and allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Add the rice, 3 cups of shrimp broth, 2 cups of clam and mussels broth. Stir well, check the salt, cover with lid and allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- After 15 minutes, the rice will be al dente and have quite a lot of broth. Add the reserved clams, mussels and shrimp, stir and allow to cook 2 more minutes uncovered.
- Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and the parsley. Add the chopped fresh coriander leaves, mix well, put in a big bowl, garnish with the clams and mussels in their shells, the shrimp with heads and tail and serve immediately.
- Note 1 - if you don't have enough shrimp or mussel broth complete with water.
- Note 2 - If you want to use frozen pre-cooked seafood, you can substitute the broth in this recipe by store bought lobster bouillon or Lobster Bisque and dilute as per the instructions in the containers.
- Note 3 - You can make everything well in advance and deep freeze cooked seafood and broths and defrost in the fridge overnight so all you have to do is warm up everything and make the rice at the last minute.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Shellfish
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Savory Rice Dish