Sunday, June 26

Solar Baked Shrimp and Rice Pilaf - Fast, Succulent, and Easy

Stock Photo
I apologize, up front, for the stock photo but it was so busy at the Midtown Market on Saturday that I didn't have a chance to take pictures.  So, imagine it without the carrots and egg and this is very close to my solar version of Shrimp and a Rice Pilaf with Sweet Peas, Onions, and Corn.

Nothing could be easier than using two quart-sized canning jars inside SolarWear(R) carriers to create what turned out to be one of the most succulent shrimp pilaf adaptations I've ever been able to fix.

With less than two hours of real solar cooking time and a booth closing at noon, I'm definitely on a learning curve of what can be cooked on site and shared with the folks who stop by. With trying to show the flexibility of solar cooking, I'm finding that night-before preparations cannot be ignored. Chopping of ingredients, mixing of herbs and spices, and creating a very portable mise en place is the difference between egg on a plate or egg on my face!

Ingredients: 1 small finely-chopped sweet onion, 3 ounces each of sweet peas and kernel corn, 2 cups Whole-Grain Brown Rice, 1-3/4 cups liquid for rice, 2-1/2 cups liquid for shrimp and vegetables; 1/2 teaspoon each of mint, tarragon, cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper to taste; and, 1/2 Tablespoon of Granny Grumbles' Soup/Dip Mix.

In one quart jar, pour 1-3/4 cups liquid for rice and 2-1/2 cups liquid in the other jar for shrimp combo. Cook both on High in microwave for four minutes. Place in solar oven and bring to hard simmer (bubbles will begin to rise). Combine rice, herbs and spices, add to hot liquid and return to solar oven for additional ten minutes. Five minutes before rice has absorbed all liquid, add shrimp, onions, sweet peas and corn to the 2.5 cups of liquid. Stir to blend and return to solar oven. Remove when first signs of pink appear on the poaching shrimp. Do not open jar but let shrimp continue to cook to an opaque white. Empty rice from jar into a large bowl; add drained contents of shrimp combo and mix thoroughly. Serve.

I decided to use lemon-lime Sprite for my liquid for a very subtle sweetness that complemented without overpowering the shrimp blend. On Friday night, each jar was prepared and then marked with masking tape to prevent confusion at Market time. Ingredients were chopped, measured, stored in separate containers, and then placed in the refrigerator until morning. First order of business (well, after coffee) was to zap both jars of liquid in the microwave for four minutes to bring them up to just under boiling and zapped the onion to soften, saving valuable cooking time.

Although I tried turning the solar oven upside down to see if it would heat up faster, the temperature hovered around 200F until about 9:20 a.m., when it began its rise. Still, I placed the jars in the solar oven, upon arrival, and they began to bubble around the edges at 9:50 a.m.  The ingredients were added to each, stirred to blend, and returned to the solar oven for approximately ten more minutes of baking. When the white of the shrimp was opaque, it was time to combine ingredients and serve. OMG! I loved sharing this beautiful and succulent dish with the folks but secretly hoped there'd be some left for my own lunch. Was that selfish of me?


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